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SNA News Releases

Competitive Foods: SNA Final Comments, Process, Guiding Principles, & Sweepstakes

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As you are aware, SNA has submitted comments addressing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed regulations to establish nutrition standards for “competitive” foods and beverages. SNA’s comments are available by clicking here. SNA strongly encourages all members to submit their own comments, affording members the opportunity to model SNA comments, as well as to further delve into the issues that affect you the most. 

You can review the steps that SNA took to solicit member comments for inclusion here. In addition, you can review the guiding principles that the SNA Competitive Foods Task Force took into consideration as they took into account the varied needs and views of membership. 

To encourage members to submit comments, SNA is also holding a “Competitive Foods Sweepstakes” to encourage SNA members to submit their own comments to USDA sharing insight on how the proposed rule will impact your program. For more information on the sweepstakes, please click here. To submit your own comments to USDA, please visit regulations.gov by April 9, 2013.
 

Action Alert for Proposed Legislation in Senate and House

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Help us in providing healthy school meals each day.  Contact your Senators and Member of Congress and ask them to cosponsor S. 427 or H.R. 1303.  For a form letter that you can send or revise and send, click here.

As you may know, Senators John Hoeven (R-ND), Dan Coats (R-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), James Inhofe (R-OK), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Pat Roberts (R-KS), John Thune (R-SD), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced S. 427, the “Sensible School Lunch Act,” which would amend the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) by eliminating the weekly maximums for grains and meat/meat alternates. SNA staff worked with Senator Hoeven’s staff on drafting the legislation which would permanently resolve the first point on SNA’s 2013 Legislative Issue Paper.  The full text of S. 427 can be found here.

Also, Members of Congress Steve Stivers (R-OH), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Larry Bucshon (R-IN), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), Jim Renacci (R-OH), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA),  and Doc Hastings (R-WA) have introduced a bill that will makes the USDA revisions to grains and protein permanent.  Here is the text of H.R. 1303.   

Again, here is the link to reach out to your Senators and House Member.

SNA Submits Comments on USDA Proposed Competitive Foods Rules; Offers Sweepstakes for Trip for Two to LAC 2014

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SNA has submitted comments in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed regulations to establish nutrition standards for “competitive” foods and beverages. SNA’s comments are available by clicking here. To protect nutritional integrity and minimize unnecessary complexity, SNA’s recommended changes to the proposal are designed to bring the competitive food regulations in line with new nutrition standards for school meals.

SNA is also holding a “Competitive Foods Sweepstakes” to  encourage SNA members to submit their own comments to USDA sharing insight on how the proposed rule will impact your program. Two randomly selected SNA members will win a trip for two to the 2014 Legislative Action Conference (LAC) in Washington, D.C., with winners enjoying free registration, hotel stay and flights, as well as receive recognition. For more information on the sweepstakes, please click here. To submit your own comments to USDA, please visit regulations.gov by April 9, 2013.

UPDATE: Additional Members Sign Onto Stivers-Fudge Bill, The School Nutrition Flexibility Act

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This evening, Congressman Stivers and Congresswoman Fudge will introduce the " The School Nutrition Flexibility Act" with additional Members of Congress co-sponsoring including:  Rep. Bill Cassidy (R, LA-6), Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D, OH-9), Rep. Frederica Wilson (D, FL-24), Rep. Bob Gibbs (R, OH-7) Rep. Larry Bucshon (R, IN-8), Rep. Trent Franks (R, AZ-8) and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D, NM-3). As mentioned previously, this  legislation will make permanent the grain and protein flexibility in regards to School Lunch and will also address the issue of local control of increasing  meal prices. SNA has been working with Representatives Stivers and Fudge on reaching out to Members of Congress and is pleased to see the growing bi-partisan support.

Members of Congress Line up to Sponsor House Versions of “Sensible School Meals Act”

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Support for the Sensible School Meals Act continues to grow as additional Members of Congress announce support for House versions of S. 427.  On Tuesday, March 19, Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-1), Tim Griffin (AR-2), Steve Womack (AR-3) and Tom Cotton (AR-4) of the Arkansas House Delegation introduced one version of the Senate bill, which is also co-cosponsored by Senator Pryor of Arkansas. Their version focuses on making permanent the grain and protein flexibility. In addition, SNA has been working with Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH) in introducing a modified version of S. 427 on Thursday, March 21. Their version will also include language addressing Section 205 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act by allowing local school food authorities and local school boards to set the price of a “paid” meal where the program is being well managed.  Representatives Stivers and Fudge are circulatingthe attached “Dear Colleague” letter to garner further bi-partisan support.

House Bill Sensible School Meals Act Introduced

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Members of Congress Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) plan to introduce a bill that will make the USDA revisions to grains and protein permanent similar to the Senate Bill.  The House Bill also includes an amendment allowing local schools to set the price for a "paid" meal where the program is well-managed.  Ask your Members of Congress to add their name this week to this important sign-on letter, before the recess.  The sign-on letter is endorsed by SNA and came about during conversations that happened during the recent Legislative Action Conference.  

Click here for the sign-on letter to share with your house member.

 

Under Extended Meal Flexibility, Schools Able to Continue Using USDA Bone In Chicken

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On March 7, USDA Foods released a statement saying that under the extended meal flexibility, program operators will still be able to use USDA’s bone in chicken. Please note that the statement stresses that operators must still abide by the weekly calorie restrictions.  States can order the following USDA items with initial orders due May 1, 2013: chicken cut-up frozen 8 piece (#100098); chicken, small bulk (#100100); and chicken oven roasted, frozen (#110080). The full memo can be located here.

USDA Released Guidance on Implementation of School Breakfast Meal Pattern for SY 2013-2014

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Today, USDA released Q&A guidance on the implementation of the new School Breakfast requirements for the School Year 2013-2014. The guidance provides an overview of the new standards and definitions for such terms as “food component” and “food item.”  Included in the document, which can be found by clicking here, are answers to questions such as serving whole-grain grits, information on how to credit meat and meat alternatives, combination food items such as a breakfast sandwich, and fruit serving sizes.  Furthermore, USDA provides detailed information on “offer vs. serve” including how it pertains to breakfast in the classroom.

First Lady and Rachael Ray Celebrate Anniversary of Let’s Move! Initiative

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March 1, 2013 – This week marked the third anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative and to mark the occasion, Mrs. Obama has been on a two-day celebratory tour that included a stop at Eastside and Northside Elementary Schools in Clinton, Miss. She was joined by celebrity chef Rachael Ray and 400 elementary school students to participate in the “Let's Move! Cafeteria Cook-off.” SNA Past President Mary Hill, SNS, executive director of foodservices, Jackson (Miss.) Public Schools, represented SNA at the event’s press conference.

The “Let's Move! Cafeteria Cook-off” competition paired two teams—cafeteria chef Fannie and celebrity chef Sunny Anderson versus cafeteria chef Wendy and celebrity chef Ryan Scott—with the challenge of making the most delicious, healthy school lunch. Mrs. Obama and Rachael Ray watched as student judges scored the lunches from blind taste tests. Before the winner was announced, the First Lady applauded the work of Fannie, Wendy and their peers in school cafeterias across the country.

“These are major, major achievements. And I know that getting to this point hasn’t been easy. I know that a lot of folks had to put in a lot of time and effort to make all this possible. And I’m particularly proud of all of the school chefs, the food service workers at schools like this one all across this state, and all across this country. And I want to take time to recognize those folks in the kitchen who do the hard work of cooking for our kids and loving every minute of it. When we passed historic legislation to improve school lunches for the first time in 15 years, these were the folks who had to totally transform their menus in a matter of months. They had to work with totally new ingredients. And they had to satisfy both strict nutrition requirements and, as we know, picky eaters.”

SNA was honored to have the First Lady recognize the efforts of school nutrition professionals who are working hard to implement the new meal standards. As a Let’s Move! partner, SNA and its members will continue to support the initiative by further improving the nutritional quality of school meals and by helping advance nutrition education for America’s students.

To learn more about the Let’s Move! initiative, visit www.letsmove.gov.

Senators Introduce Legislation to Eliminate Weekly Maximums on Grains and Meat & Meat Alternates

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Yesterday, Senators John Hoeven (R-ND), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jerry Moran, (R-KS), James Inhofe (R-OK), John Thune (R-SD), Dan Coats (R-IN), and Pat Roberts (R-KS) introduced S. 427, the “Sensible School Lunch Act”, which would amend the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) by eliminating the weekly maximums for grains and meat/meat alternates. SNA staff worked with Senator Hoeven’s staff on drafting the legislation which would permanently resolve the first point on the SNA 2013 Issue Paper. It is expected that a House companion bill will be introduced in the coming weeks. Senator Hoeven will be one of the speakers at the Closing General Session on Wednesday at next week’s LAC and will likely be discussing the “Sensible School Act” in his remarks. 

The full text of the legislation can be found here.

 


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