SNA News Releases

USDA Food and Nutrition Accomplishments 2009-2011

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February 29, 2012 – The U.S Department of Agriculture has shared their top accomplishments for 2009-11. Here are highlights from the many accomplishments USDA mentions:

  • Leading the effort to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. This historic legislation will allow USDA, for the first time in 30 years, the chance to make real reforms to school lunch and breakfast programs by improving the critical nutrition and hunger safety net for nearly 32 million children who eat school lunch each day.
  • Update school meal standards to increase fruits, vegetables, whole grain, and low-fat dairy while reducing fats, sodium and sugars.
  • Utilize science-based standards for all foods and beverages sold on campus.
  • Utilize performance-based funding increases for schools—the first real increase in 30 years.
  • Provide training and technical assistance to help schools meet improved standards.
  • Encourage more schools to promote healthy eating and exercise through the HealthierUS School Challenge, which has recognized over 2,100 schools.
  • Provide intensive outreach and promotion efforts for the Summer Food Service Program, helping USDA reach over 173,000 more children with double-digit percentage increases in program sponsors and feeding sites between 2008 and 2010.

To learn more, read the USDA Food and Nutrition Accomplishments 2009-2011 in its entirety.

Final Meal Pattern Regulation: A Comparison of SNA’s Recommendations and the Final Meal Pattern

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SNA has conducted an analysis of the key points from its 11 page submission in response to the Proposed Meal Pattern to determine how the Final Meal Pattern Regulation compares. Click on the link to see the grid that compares SNA’s recommendations with the final action items from USDA.

SNA Comparison to USDA Regulation

Participate in the First Whole Grain Sampling Day

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February 14, 2012—Want to give your students an opportunity to try some of your operation’s delicious whole-grain products? Consider participating in the Whole Grains Council’s first Whole Grain Sampling Day on April 4.

National Whole Grain Sampling Day logo.jpg

The Whole Grains Council invites school nutrition operations, restaurants, supermarkets and manufacturers to take part in this sampling event to help introduce consumers to what just may become new whole-grain favorites. In recent years, consumers have gravitated increasingly toward whole grains. The Whole Grains Council cites a 2009 survey by Kellogg’s in which 36% of consumers said that they eat whole grains because they enjoy the taste. This figure is up from a 2006 Harris Interactive survey in which 13% cited taste as a purchase motivator.

According to the Whole Grains Council, two factors can be attributed to the rise in whole-grain consumption. First, companies have worked to introduce more whole grains into the market, and additionally, consumers’ palates have become more accustomed to the taste of whole grains.

The Whole Grains Council hopes that Whole Grain Sampling Day will “help get whole grains into the mouths of consumers.” On April 4, perhaps your school or operation can substitute an item usually served on white bread with a whole-grain option or offer taste testing of some whole-grain items that you may be considering serving on the menu, among other ideas for Whole Grain Sampling Day.

If you’re unable to celebrate Whole Grain Sampling Day on April 4, the Whole Grains Council encourages you to celebrate on another day that week.

For more information about Whole Grain Sampling Day, visit

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Whole Grain Sampling Day

USDA FY13 Funding Overview

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The US Department of Agriculture’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget is reflective of the President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction. Between 2010 and 2012, USDA’s operating budget was reduced by over 12 percent. Staffing has been cut and USDA has identified a number of areas to reduce costs and ways to make operations more efficient. The 2013 request for discretionary budget authority to fund programs and operating expenses is about $24 billion, about the same as provided in 2012. This is somewhat offset through about $1 billion in proposed limits on selected mandatory programs. For 2013, more reductions in staffing levels, among other actions, are proposed to reduce costs. Additionally, the budget proposes to reduce or terminate selected programs and reallocate resources to fund targeted investments in select programs and infrastructure to provide a foundation for sustainable economic growth.

Funding for mandatory programs is projected to increase in 2013 by nearly $8 billion due to a one-time shift in the timing of certain crop insurance costs mandated by the 2008 Farm Bill. In 2013, rising employment and household incomes are expected to reduce the need for nutrition assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and lead to fewer program participants.

USDA’s total expenses for 2013 are estimated at $155 billion. Approximately 83 percent of expenditures, about $128 billion in 2013, are associated with mandatory programs that provide services as required by law. Specific program budget increases are as follows:

  • WIC is being increased from $6.6 billion to $7.0 billion
  • SNAP is being increased from $80.4 billion to about $82 billion
  • Child Nutrition Programs are being increased from $18.2 billion to $19.7 billion

The entire budget overview can be viewed here.

School Nutrition Presents Third Annual Reader’s Choice Issue

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February 6, 2012—The February issue of School Nutrition, SNA’s award-winning flagship publication, marks the second issue of the magazine’s new digital edition. The digital edition is offered in addition to the print edition and is available via web browsers. If you haven’t already done so, take some time to visit and explore the digital version of School Nutrition.

For the third year in a row, as part of its Reader’s Choice issue, School Nutrition asked readers about topics that they would like to see covered in the magazine. The magazine’s February issue pulls together important topics such as new ideas to build cafeteria participation and dealing with difficult employees.

To be successful in today’s competitive marketplace with many options vying for student interest, you need to follow the lead of commercial foodservice and retail operations, so it’s essential to keep creativity top of mind when promoting and enhancing your program. “I Spy…Marketing Success!” takes a look at some innovative ways to build cafeteria participation.

Looking for some new ways to inject some dynamism into your routine staff meetings and trainings? “Oh, Happy Day!” offers a variety of suggestions for ways to shake things up. With a bit of extra planning and effort on your part, soon your team members just may be looking forward to your next team meeting.

“Put Down the Whistle” explores proven techniques to manage and interact with difficult employees in a way that can lead to a more productive, efficient and happier workplace.

You may have observed how seeing members of your staff or guest chefs wearing a white chef’s coat can make the eyes of kids of all ages light up. “Kids’ Cooking Takes Center Stage” provides examples and suggestions from school nutrition colleagues that might inspire you to let your students experience their own kitchen magic by teaching them valuable—and fun—culinary skills. Bonus Web Content: Don’t miss some additional advice and resources to help you develop activities to teach kids how to cook—or to offer to parents for family activities conducted at home.

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School Nutrition –February 2012    

2012 - Legislative Issue Paper

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February 1, 2012 -- The School Nutrition Association is proud to announce the 2012 Legislative Issue Paper. The paper, which identifies the Association’s legislative priorities for 2012 can be read here. The paper will be officially unveiled at the 40th annual Legislative Action Conference scheduled for March 4-7, 2012 in Washington, DC.

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