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Tuesday Morning - January 20, 2009

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January 20, 2009

 

Note: Today is Inauguration Day.  At 12 noon EST, President-elect Barack Obama will be sworn-in as the 44th President of the United States.

 

Table of Contents

LAC 2009 Early Bird Deadline Coming Up Fast!

Sign-on to the Child Nutrition Forum Statement of Prinicples

House of Representatives Releases Economic Recovery Package

Senators Sign onto Letter Supporting School Nutrition Funding

Confirmation Hearing Held for Vilsack Before Senate Agriculture Committee

House Agriculture Committee Announces Members

2008 Summer Food Service Program Reimbursement Rates Published

FRAC Releases Annual School Breakfast Report Card

Peanut Butter Recalled Due to Salmonella Contamination

USDA Purchases Up to 63.4 Million Pounds of Orange Juice

New Resources Address School Meal Charges

In Every Issue

Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

State Policy Index

State and Federal Legislation

PPL Committee

LAC 2009 Early Bird Deadline Coming Up Fast!

Hurry, the Early Bird registration deadline for SNA’s 2009 Legislative Action Conference (LAC) is drawing near—January 23rd. Register now and save! It’s time once again to gather in the nation’s capital to maximize SNA’s grassroots power. Are you ready to put your stamp on the future of the federal school nutrition programs? SNA’s 37th annual LAC will be held at the JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., March 1-4, 2009.

To register, please visit the LAC 2009 page.

Sign-on to the Child Nutrition Forum Statement of Principles

Please consider joining the hundreds of national and state organizations that have signed on to the Child Nutrition Forum Statement of Principles.  Co-chaired by the School Nutrition Association and the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), the Child Nutrition Forum is a coalition of organizations working together to guide efforts for Reauthorization 2009. These groups represent anti-hunger, religious, education, medical, nutrition, direct service, school food, pre-school and child care, unions, children, after school, industry, and agriculture that are calling on Congress to enact legislation that:

  1. Assures and strengthens program access and supports participation by underserved children and communities;
  2. Enhances nutrition quality and provides adequate meal reimbursements; and,
  3. Modernizes technology and simplifies program administration and operation.

As of January 20, 2009, over 400 national, state, and local organizations have signed on to the CNF Statement of Principles, including SNA state affiliates in Georgia, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and Washington State.  To sign on to the Statement of Principles, please visit the link below.

Child Nutrition Forum Statement of Prinicples 

House of Representatives Releases Economic Recovery Package

Late last week, the leadership of the House of Representatives released the some of the details of their proposed economic recovery package legislation. The package includes important nutrition program investments and other targeted relief in addition to broad initiatives to stimulate the U.S. economy. Proposed funding increases include over $700 million for after school meals and an increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP/Food Stamps) allotment.

The recovery legislation is expected to be marked up by House Committees shortly after the Inauguration. The spending provisions, which make up a majority of the package, fall under the jurisdiction of the House Appropriations Committee. The tax provisions fall under the jurisdiction of the House Ways and Means Committee.

The package includes additional funding for:

  • Afterschool meals
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP/Food Stamps)
  • WIC Management Information Systems (MIS)

Details on nutrition assistance priorities for House action still are unfolding, including regarding whether some items that were omitted from the recovery package will be addressed in the separate annual appropriations bill for FY 2009. While initial proposals include an increase in school lunch and breakfast reimbursements, that provision is not in the current package.

For additional information, please see the link below.

House of Representatives Releases Economic Recovery Package

Senators Sign onto Letter Supporting School Nutrition Funding

A bipartisan group of 40 senators signed on to a letter requesting that the FY2010 federal budget include additional funding for school nutrition programs.  In the letter to President-elect Barack Obama, lawmakers stressed that several key areas need additional funding, including program access and participation, nutritional improvement, modernization and program integrity.

Over 2,600 SNA members sent emails to Congress asking their senators to sign onto the letter.  You can still show your support for increased funding for school nutrition programs by sending an action alert to you Congressional representatives.  Please visit the Legislative Action Center for more information.

Confirmation Hearing Held for Vilsack Before Senate Agriculture Committee

Secretary of Agriculture-designate Tom Vilsack (D-Iowa) appeared before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in a confirmation hearing on Wednesday, January 14, 2009.  In both questions and testimony, the former Iowa Governor discussed the important role the federal nutrition programs, including the child nutrition programs, play.  Vilsack stated that he has already begun to coordinate efforts with the Obama administration related to the child nutrition programs.  Vilsack noted the importance of including healthier items, including more fresh fruits and vegetables in the school nutrition programs.  Both Vilsack and Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) noted that the reauthorization of the child nutrition programs will be a major priority of the USDA this year.

House Agriculture Committee Announces Members

House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) has announced the members of the full Agriculture Committee for the 111th Congress.  For the full list of committee members, please visit the link below.

House Agriculture Committee Members

2008 Summer Food Service Program Reimbursement Rates Published

The Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has published the reimbursement rates for the 2008 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).  The rates were effective as of January 1, 2008. 

Reimbursement rates for the SFSP for 2009 reflect a 4.9 percent increase in the cost of living over last year.  The maximum allowable operational reimbursement for lunch or suppers in the continental U.S. is $3.1825, up to $1.8150 for breakfast, and $0.7525 for snacks, depending on the type of service and location.  Higher rates apply in Alaska and Hawaii. 

The Summer Food Service Program provides students with meals during the summer time when school is out of session.  The program is one of the most underutilized federal nutrition programs. In 2005, less than 18 percent of low-income children who received a school lunch during the school year received a meal during the summer months.

For additional information regarding the rates, please visit Related Links.

Federal Register Notice – SFSP Reimbursement Rates

FRAC Releases Annual School Breakfast Report Card

School breakfast participation continues to rise, according to a report released last week by the Food Research and Action Council (FRAC).  According to FRAC’s annual School Breakfast Report Card, school breakfast participation increased 4 percent during the 2007-2008 school year, with 10.5 million children served daily.  FRAC also released another report that looks at school breakfast promotion and participation in 19 of the country's largest cities.

To measure the reach of the School Breakfast Program, FRAC compares the number of schools and low-income children that participate breakfast as compared to the broadly utilized National School Lunch Program. In the 2007-2008 school year, 85.7 percent of schools offering lunch offered breakfast as well.  This is a slight increase from 84.8 percent last year.  One of the barriers to offering the breakfast program at the local level continues to be the cost to prepare a school breakfast – which is greater than ‘per meal’ federal reimbursement provided to school districts participating in the School Breakfast Program.

For more information, please visit the link below.

FRAC Releases Annual School Breakfast Report Card

Peanut Butter Recalled Due to Salmonella Contamination

King Nut Companies has recalled peanut butter distributed by the company under the King Nut and Parnell’s Pride labels for possible salmonella contamination.  The peanut butter is only sold to food service institutions, including schools and universities.  The company does not distribute retail sized butter.

As of January 18, 2009, based on the current state of the investigation, the FDA recommends that consumers avoid eating products that have been recalled and discard them.  Because identification of products subject to recall is continuing, the FDA urges consumers to postpone eating commercially-prepared or manufactured peanut butter-containing products and institutionally-served peanut butter until further information becomes available about which products may be affected.

The company is recalling all containers of peanut butter with lot codes beginning with “8.”  The peanut butter is manufactured by the Peanut Corporation of America and distributed by the King Nut Companies under the King Nut and Parnell’s Pride labels.  King Nut Companies has cancelled all orders with the Peanut Corporation of America.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal (January 15, 2008) the "U.S. Department  of Agriculture... didn't buy any of the recalled peanut butter for the National School Lunch Program or other food distribution programs."

For a list of the recalled items, please see the link below.

Peanut Butter Recalled Due to Salmonella Contamination

USDA Purchases Up to 63.4 Million Pounds of Orange Juice

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that it will purchase up to 63.4 million pounds of orange juice to be donated to the child nutrition programs and other food assistance programs.  The orange juice purchases will be made through the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the USDA.

USDA Announces Purchase of Up to 63.4 Million Pounds of Orange Juice

New Resources Address School Meal Charges

The headlines are more and more common: “School District Deals with Meal Charge” and “Parents Told There’s No Free Lunch.”  As the costs of food, transportation, and labor continue to rise, both parents and school nutrition programs are feeling financial pressure.  While families that qualify for free or reduced price meals are entitled to those meals, parents that are not eligible for free or reduced price meals sometimes struggle with being able to pay for school meals. SNA’s Public Policy and Legislation Committee recently compiled several resources and sample policies to help school nutrition programs and school districts address this issue.

SNA has created an outline that provides an overview of the charge policy issue, considerations for crafting a charge policy, as well a sample letter to the editor. Additionally, the Association has collected sample policies from several districts across the country to provide models to members. To further ensure that all children have access to healthy school meals SNA continues to advocate for increased reimbursements for school meals, as well as funding to eliminate the reduced price category, a significant barrier to meal participation for many students.

Charge Policy Resources

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

State Policy Index

State and Federal Legislation

State legislation can now be accessed on the Internet through Netscan. Use Username: schoolnutrition and Password: sna

Click State Legislation Instructions for steps to access state legislation through the service. Legislatures currently in session include:  Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Federal, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

 


 
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