(October 19, 2011) Last night, the US Senate approved an amendment that effectively lifts USDA’s proposed meal pattern restrictions on starchy vegetables served in school meals. The amendment, offered by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo, passed during debate on the Fiscal Year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. Specifically, the amendment prohibits the use of funds to implement a rule that sets maximum limits on the serving of vegetables in school meal programs or is inconsistent with the recommendations of the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans for vegetables. While SNA agreed with Senator Collins desire to increase the amount of starchy vegetables that could be served, SNA supported USDA completing the regulatory review process and issuing a revised rule based on the comments submitted.
The Senate is expected to complete action on this appropriations bill this week. Once the Senate completes debate and passes the bill, a conference committee will be assigned to resolve the differences between the House and Senate bills. When the final bill is drafted, it must be approved by both Houses of Congress before being sent to the President for his signature. SNA will keep members apprised of any new developments.
In the meantime, SNA stands behind the 11 page comments our Association submitted in response to the proposed rule. USDA is taking all comments under consideration as they work toward a final meal pattern update. SNA strongly supports this process and full completion of the regulatory process so that federal nutrition standards will be in line with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
On Monday, October 17, The First Lady hosted a reception on the South Lawn to honor the 1,273 schools that met her goal to double the number of participants in the HealthierUS School Challenge within one year. The Challenge pays tribute to schools that create healthier school environments through exceptional nutrition education, nutritious food and beverage choices, and opportunities for physical activity.
"Achieving the HealthierUS School Challenge recognition demonstrates a school's deep commitment to create and maintain a healthy school environment," US Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack said.
Those honored at the White House ceremony voluntarily agreed to provide healthy meals based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which included serving a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grain foods, and fat-free or low fat milk. Schools participating in the Challenge are recognized with Gold Award of Distinction, Gold, Silver, or Bronze-level certification.
The full list of HealthierUS School Challenge winners can be found at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/healthierus/awardwinners.html
October 18, 2011 – Need direction for navigating the complex challenges on today’s bumpy school nutrition road? Get the help you need to steer your operation or business to ongoing excellence by attending SNA’s Child Nutrition Industry Conference (CNIC), which will be held January 15-17, 2012, at the Omni ChampionsGate Resort in Orlando, Fla. This annual meeting of school nutrition operators and industry partners will focus on the theme, “Create Your Roadmap for Change,” and will include numerous educational sessions and networking opportunities designed to provide you with ideas, solutions and strategies for making change work for you instead of against you.
The full conference details are set to arrive in your mailbox any day, packed with everything you need to know about CNIC. Of course, why wait when you can learn about this year’s General Session speakers today! Sports legend and one of America’s top motivational speakers, Pat Williams will share his incredible story of success—from penning over 50 books to leading 23 teams to the NBA playoffs—and how you can achieve your own success in the workplace. Need help encouraging your staff, your students or yourself on a path toward lifelong health and wellness? Well, you won’t want to miss hearing what Ali Vincent, the winner of the hit show “The Biggest Loser,” has to say! Since taking the title as the first female to win the show, Ali has wowed audiences with her amazing transformation, her inner strength and her personal philosophy, “Believe It, Be It.”
Staying ahead of upcoming trends is one key way to make change work for you, and no one can bring you up to speed on trends on the cusp of breaking like Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert. You will leave his fascinating session with a keen understanding of all the ways your students influence your school nutrition operation. Of course, if you want even more insight into the minds of your students and their buying behavior, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to hear the “Sherlock Holmes of Food,” Dr. Brian Wansink. This food detective will highlight quick and inexpensive changes you can implement to nudge your students to make better lunch-line decisions without sacrificing participation. The importance of such better-eating decisions--for your students and yourself—as well as the value of exercise will be the center of the discussion for industry partners and fitness enthusiasts Gary Vonck and Kim Schwabenbauer.
As if that weren’t enough, Cindy Long, Child Nutrition Division Director of USDA Food & Nutrition Service, will be on hand to provide a comprehensive update of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and its many provisions, all of which will have a major impact on child nutrition programs for years to come. A special emphasis on the status of the new meal patterns and other important information coming down the pike will also be addressed.
With so much information available, you’re guaranteed a solid return on investment for the time you spend at CNIC. Don’t miss out on one of best learning, sharing and networking events! Register by November 4th to take advantage of the CNIC Early Bird registration rate!
Register for CNIC
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