SNA CEO Responds to New York Times Article



Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner  


SNA CEO Responds to New York Times Article  


National Harbor, MD (July 7, 2014) - Today, School Nutrition Association CEO Patti Montague, CAE submitted the following letter to the editor to the New York Times in response to its story, "Nutrition Group Lobbies Against Healthier School Meals It Sought, Citing Cost."

Your recent article, “Nutrition Group Lobbies Against Healthier School Meals It Sought, Citing Cost” oversimplifies the challenges that schools nationwide face under federal rules for school meals and fails to recognize new mandates that went into effect July 1.

Our 55,000 members are proud to share in the success of providing reduced calorie lunches that include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins – 30 million times a day all for about $3 a meal.

However, we have long held concerns – dating back to 2011– about how these final regulations would be implemented in our schools.

Already more than 1 million students are opting out of the school lunch program and spending their lunch money elsewhere.

Unfortunately, when a school cafeteria falls into debt, funds are taken from instructional or other school programs to make up the difference – that’s a problem none of us want.

SNA’s members have worked with their school boards and students to implement dozens of regulations over the past two years and are just asking for some commonsense relief:

First, reinstate the initial requirement that 50% of grains offered for lunch and breakfast be whole grain rich, instead of pushing forward new mandates for 100% of whole grains. Second, maintain the reduced sodium levels introduced this month. Third, continue to offer, but not require, students to take a fruit or vegetable, as this often leads to food waste. And fourth, allow healthy food items that are permitted on the meal line to also be sold a la carte.

We all want to ensure kids have the nutritious breakfast and lunch they need to be successful in the classroom – that’s been our mission for over 70 years, and it will be our mission every day forward.

Patti Montague, CAE
Chief Executive Officer


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