Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which is working to keep its produce aisles fresh, announced steps to improve the quality of its fresh fruits and vegetables.

The nation's largest grocer and retailer said Monday that it is making more changes in its operations, training and sourcing as it looks to increase sales of bananas, lettuce and other produce and instill more confidence among shoppers looking for healthier choices.

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Changes include delivering produce from farms to store shelves more quickly by purchasing fruits and vegetables directly from local growers. It's also conducting independent weekly checks of the produce aisles at its more than 3,400 Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Express stores.

Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., said it also launched a produce training program for 70,000 associates, including store managers, that teaches them how to better handle fruits and vegetables.

The steps follow several commitments that Wal-Mart has made since 2011 to sell healthier and more affordable food. As part of that commitment, Wal-Mart reiterated Monday that it's working closely with local growers and aims to double the company's sales of locally grown produce by December 2015.