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Tuesday Morning - March 10, 2009

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March 10, 2009

 

Table of Contents

Dr. Katie Wilson Testifies Before Congress

Secretary Vilsack Addresses SNA Legislative Action Conference

Woolsey Introduces Competitive Foods Legislation

School Nutrition in the News

Media Challenges to School Nutrition

National School Breakfast Week Wrap Up

New York Lawmakers Push for Greater Access to Local Produce

SNA of Wisconsin Hosts School Breakfast Conference

Action for Healthy Kids Announces New School Breakfast Grant Program

In Every Issue

Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

State Policy Index

State and Federal Legislation

PPL Committee

Dr. Katie Wilson Testifies Before Congress

Dr. Katie Wilson, SNS, president of the School Nutrition Association, testified before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry today.  Wilson testified on the first panel during the hearing entitled “Improving Nutrition for America’s Children in Difficult Economic Times.”

In her testimony, Dr. Wilson discussed the need for increased funding for the school nutrition programs.  She noted that many families who are struggling financially are turning to the child nutrition programs.  Despite increased participation, the school nutrition programs are not adequately funded.  Dr. Wilson also discussed how indirect costs charged by school districts are creating financial difficulties for the school nutrition programs.  The need for national nutrition standards was also a key part of Dr. Wilson’s testimony.  Dr. Wilson asked Congress to implement a consistent, national nutrition standard for all foods and beverages sold in schools based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Dr. Katie Wilson’s Testimony

Webcast of Committee Hearing, March 4, 2009

Testimony of all Witnesses

School lunches strained by recession, farm panel told

Secretary Vilsack Addresses SNA Legislative Action Conference

On Monday morning, March 2, 2009, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack received a standing ovation as he addressed over 700 hundred school nutrition professionals and called on them to work with him and the Obama Administration to end childhood hunger by the year 2015. One of SNA's key legislative priorities for this child nutrition reauthorization year is to secure adequate funding for federal child nutrition programs to ensure all children receive balanced, nutritious meals. Below are additional conference highlights:

  • Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) noted that he will introduce expansive legislation would guarantee free breakfast and lunch at school to every child as well as expand programs such as summer meals.
  • During the annual LAC banquet on Monday evening, Senator Bob Casey (D-Penn.) addressed attendees, saying that expanded access to the child nutrition programs is more important than ever. 
  • Dr. Keith-Thomas Ayoob and Dr. Brian Wansink provided encouragement and suggestions for improving the nutritional quality and increasing participation of school nutrition programs.
  • Three members of the Child Nutrition Forum outlined their organizations goals and issues for Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2009.  Attendees heard from the American Dietetic Association, the Congressional Hunger Center, and the Grocery Manufacturers of America.

Woolsey Introduces Competitive Foods Legislation

Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) reintroduced legislation on Thursday, March 5th that would regulate the sale of foods sold outside of the federal school nutrition programs.  Approximately 88 members of Congress are co-sponsoring H.R. 1324, the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act of 2009.

The current bill is very similar to bills introduced in the 109th and 110th Congresses.  The legislation would update the definition of Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value to correspond with current nutrition science.  This bill would also expand the time and place rule, allowing the Secretary of Agriculture to have authority over all foods and beverages sold on the school campus during the school day.  SNA has long advocated that all foods served and sold in school should be held to an appropriate and consistent nutrition standard. Failure to apply the same rules to all foods sold/served on campus throughout the school day erodes the efforts schools are making to ensure the nutritional quality and value of school meals offered inside the cafeteria. 

Woolsey Introduces Competitive Foods Legislation

National School Breakfast Week Wrap Up

Students across the country were joined this week by a several special superheroes encouraging children to “power up” by eating a nutritious school breakfast each day. In cities and towns nationwide, celebrations were held with the school breakfast superheroes to promote healthy eating habits.  The U.S. Senate passed a resolution recognizing the week, calling the programs important for families struggling during the recession.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture also issued a statement celebrating the week.

National School Breakfast Week 2009 received extensive media coverage.  Below are some highlights from the week:

  • School nutrition directors in Detroit, Denver, and Dallas appeared on air to showcase the nutritious foods served in their school breakfast programs.
  • In Auburn, Ala., students dressed up as their favorite superhero to celebrate this year’s school breakfast theme, “Power Up! With School Breakfast.”
  • Students in several cities were encouraged to eat healthy and exercise daily by several NFL stars.  In Denver, Broncos running back Peyton Hillis joined students for a healthy school breakfast.  Students in Des Moines ate with Chicago Bears quarterback Kyle Orton, while students in Beaumont, Wash. were joined by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jordan Babineaux. 
  • In Suffolk, Va., students were treated to special theme breakfasts and giveaways through out the week.

Auburn students dress as superheroes to learn nutrition – Opelika-Auburn News

National School Breakfast Week Showcases NFL Hometown Hero as Example – Beaumont, Washington

Eat your breakfast, Bears QB tells students – Des Moines Register

Breakfast takes center – Suffolk Herald News

Senate passes measure recognizing National School Breakfast Week

USDA Celebrates School Breakfast Week

School Nutrition in the News

School nutrition programs continue to make headlines.  The school nutrition program at the Mount Desert Elementary School in Northeast Harbor, Maine was featured on a recent episode of the Martha Stewart Show.  The episode featured the school’s extensive farm to school program, with Martha Stewart interviewing school nutrition director and SNA member Linda Mailhot.

National Public Radio business news program Marketplace carried a story on how in some areas, demand for school nutrition jobs is rising.  With many Americans searching for employment, some are turning to cafeteria positions to provide extra income. School nutrition professionals in Alabama were interviewed in this story.

On Tuesday, March 10th, SNA President Katie Wilson will be interviewed in a story that is set to air on local NBC stations.  The article is on increasing free and reduced price participation.

Elaine Keaton, executive director of the New Mexico School Nutrition Association, appeared on the Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends morning show, discussing the Albuquerque Public School District’s policy of providing cheese sandwiches to children who have charged a certain number of school lunches.  Keaton successfully defended the Albuquerque school nutrition program, noting that they provide school meals to all children.

The March issue of the magazine, In These Times, featured an article on food service contract management companies keeping rebates from clients, including school districts.  The article alleges that some contract management companies are charging school districts more than the actual cost because they are purchasing products that provide rebates.

Mount Desert Elementary School Visit - The Martha Stewart Show

Cafeteria jobs serve up some stability – Marketplace

Fox and Friends

Cafeteria Kickbacks – In These Times

Media Challenges to School Nutrition

Although positive news headlines dominated last week around school nutrition, focusing on National School Breakfast Week and the child nutrition hearing held by the Senate Agriculture Committee, two articles were circulated that include inaccuracies on school nutrition programs. An article on the introduction in Congress of the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act that would update nutrition standards for competitive foods wrongly asserted that National School Lunch Program nutrition standards have not been update in thirty years. SNA has communicated that correction to the publisher - The Daily Green. Separately a syndicated Health Day article reiterated outdated data from 2004-2005, prior to local school wellness policies, that was part of the 2007 School Nutrition Dietary Assessment -3 study. SNA has previously responded to the SNDA 3 results.

School Lunch Standards Haven’t Been Updated in 30 Years

School Lunches Too Fatty and Too Sugary, Critics Say

New York Lawmakers Push for Greater Access to Local Produce

A recent USDA memo on interpretation of what it means for local produce to be considered “processed” has closed up this market for local farms. A USDA policy memo dated January 9, 2009, states that " De minimis handling does not include chopped, cut, or diced products and therefore geographic preference may not be applied to agricultural products that have been chopped, cut, sliced, or diced." New York State Senator Darrell Aubertine (D) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) recently wrote a letter asking USDA Secretary Vilsack to reverse this interpretation, in order to "help the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program succeed in helping local agriculture and making our children healthier."

New York Lawmakers Push for Greater Access to Local Produce in School Meals

SNA of Wisconsin Hosts School Breakfast Conference

The School Nutrition Association of Wisconsin, along with the University of Wisconsin – Extension, the Department of Public Instruction, and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board are hosting a school breakfast conference.  The conference, “Spring Into Action with School Breakfast” will be held in Manitowoc, Wis. on Thursday, March 26 and Friday, March 27.  For additional information, please visit the links below.

Wisconsin School Breakfast Conference 

Action for Healthy Kids Announces New School Breakfast Grant Program

Increasing the number of children eating breakfast at school to start their day right is the goal of a new grant program. Action for Healthy Kids, with generous support from Kellogg’s Corporate Citizenship Fund, is offering grants to schools that currently participate in the School Breakfast Program with greater than 50 percent eligibility for free and reduced-price meals. The goal is to increase their average daily student participation by 25 percent.

The grants are intended to fund implementation of alternative breakfast programs, innovative marketing and promotions, and/or enhancement of the school breakfast experience through educational enrichment activities. Awards will range between $500 and $2,000.  For more details and to apply for a grant, please click on the link below.

Action for Healthy Kids School Breakfast Grants

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:  Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Federal, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin


 
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