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(TRENTON) — Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Nelson T. Albano and Matthew W. Milam to promote foods prepared with “Jersey Fresh” ingredients was released Monday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-2305) would designate baked goods and other food products prepared with “Jersey Fresh” produce as “Made With Jersey Fresh.”

“Farmers are New Jersey’s heritage and lifeblood, but they also need our support, especially in these difficult economic times,” said Albano, chairman of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee that released the bill. “This simple step would encourage and support not only the manufacture of home-grown products but would give consumers an opportunity to buy goods that use locally grown fruits and vegetables.”

“New Jersey grows more than 100 different varieties of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and the state is ranked nationally in the top 10 as a producer of blueberries, cranberries, peaches, bell peppers, squash and tomatoes,” Milam said. “These are all fine ingredients, and promoting them with a ‘Made With Jersey Fresh’ label will further support family farmers and bakers.”

The bill would also encourage the purchase of “Made With Jersey Fresh” products by the New Jersey Division of Purchase and Property and at service areas along the Garden State Parkway, New Jersey Turnpike and Atlantic City Expressway operated by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and South Jersey Transportation Authority.

The bill was released by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. It now goes to Assembly Speaker, who decides if and when to post it for a floor vote.

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