Mr. Speaker, today I stand in acknowledgement of Frozen Food Month, and to recognize an industry's significant efforts to ensure families and schoolchildren across America have access to healthy, affordable foods.
Few other foods offer consumers the benefits and flexibility of frozen foods. Frozen fruits, vegetables and entrees help busy moms and dads easily prepare quality meals at home, allowing for more family time spent around the dinner table. In school cafeterias, lunch planners rely on frozen foods to help stretch limited budgets and serve healthy meals kids enjoy eating. And frozen fruits and vegetables, with their year-round availability and outstanding nutritional value, make it easy for everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables at home, at school and on the go.
Consumer appreciation for the value frozen foods offer has catapulted sales in this rapidly-growing industry to over $60 billion. With nearly 700 frozen food facilities employing nearly 100,000 Americans nationwide, its economic footprint is significant. Forty of those frozen food operations are located in my home state of Washington.
In recognition of Frozen Food Month, I take this opportunity to honor one of Washington state's very own, National Frozen Foods Corporation, headquartered in Seattle. National Frozen Foods is celebrating an impressive 100 years as a leader in the frozen food industry this year.
National's history began in 1912 when William McCaffray, Sr. began a small strawberry-freezing operation on a $5,000 loan from a friend. Recognizing the advantages of frozen food production and building on his early success, the company began freezing vegetables in the 1930s. Today, National Frozen Foods has grown to be one of the nation's premiere private-label frozen vegetable producers, employing some 670 workers throughout the year. Their Chehalis, Washington, facility is in the heart of the district I represent.
National's commitment to continuing improvement through innovation--not only at a company level, but as an industry leader--is clear. National Frozen Foods President and CEO Richard H. Grader is a former chairman and longtime member of the board of directors of the American Frozen Food Institute. In his current role as chairman of the Frozen Food Foundation, Mr. Grader guides the foundation's efforts to better educate consumers and the general public about the considerable nutritional and food safety attributes offered by frozen foods.
The impact that National Frozen Foods Corporation has had on the industry and on the economy of Southwest Washington, Washington state, and the positive impact that the industry continues to have on this nation are immeasurable. I applaud the frozen food industry and the management and employees of National Frozen Foods Corporation for your hard work and your contribution to America.
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