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Tuesday Morning - June 9, 2009

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June 9, 2009

Table of Contents

Secretary Vilsack Testifies at Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing

Washington Briefings Focus on Childhood Hunger and Nutrition Policy

Child Nutrition Reauthorization in the News

Stimulus School Food Equipment Grants Begin to be Announced

Update on Philadelphia School Meals Program

Study Finds Barriers to Whole Grain Use in School Meals

Eliminating the Reduced Price Category

Are You a Fan? Do You Tweet? School Nutrition and Social Media

ANC Update: Check Out the Child Nutrition Policy Sessions

USDA Secretary Plants “Good Food Garden” at DC School

Webinar Wednesdays Archive Now Available

Food Inc Movie Opens this Week

 

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

From the Kitchen to the Congress Reauthorization Blog

State and Federal Legislation

 

Secretary Vilsack Testifies at Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing

On June 4, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies held a hearing regarding USDA’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 appropriation request with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, Chief Economist Dr. Joseph Glauber and Scott Steele, USDA’s Budget Officer.

Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Ranking Member Sam Brownback (R-KS), presided over the hearing, and were joined by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Ben Nelson (DNE), Jack Reed (D-RI), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Arlen Specter (D-PA), Robert Bennett (R-UT), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Christopher Bond (R-MO), and Susan Collins (R-ME.) The Secretary urged the subcommittee to understand that the FY 2010 budget request had to be developed in a very rapid time frame when few policy people were yet in place at USDA.  

Asked about the Philadelphia School Meal Program, Vilsack stated that he knows the importance of the program. He pointed to the decision to discontinue it having been made by the Bush Administration when Philadelphia was notified last December. He agreed that an abrupt ending is not correct, and he is looking for ways to help Philadelphia and other areas. He wants to work to find ways to make Philadelphia a model or a pathway for a national program. He would like to see a continuation of Philadelphia rolled into opportunities for other areas, not just Philadelphia. The Secretary’s testimony can be found through Related Links below. Additionally, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee has now scheduled mark up of the fiscal 2010 USDA, FDA, Rural Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for next Thursday, June 11, at 3:00.

USDA Secretary Vilsack testimony

 

Washington Briefings Focus on Childhood Hunger and Nutrition Policy

Last week two separate briefings held for policymakers focused on policies to address childhood obesity and policies that would end hunger. The Tufts University Gerald J. & Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy hosted a national forum on June 1st at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Tufts' faculty experts in nutrition were joined by academic, corporate and government officials for a discussion entitled: "Children's Health: The Future of Food & Nutrition Policy." Topics covered include childhood obesity, nutrition standards, and global child nutrition and school food programs. 

Julie Paradis, the newly appointed administrator of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, offered brief opening remarks in which she emphasized the Obama Administration’s goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015. Noting that President Obama has requested an annual increase of $1 billion in his budget for child nutrition programs, Ms. Paradis pointed to the fact that one out of five Americans is served by USDA’s nutrition programs. She stated that reauthorization of child nutrition programs must consider if revised nutrition standards should be imposed explicitly by statute, or as the result of a regulatory procedure. She also said consideration needs to be given as to whether the standards imposed on a la carte foods should also be imposed on the elements of reimbursable meals. Also presenting at the conference, Dr. Mary Story, University of Minnesota, stated that schools cannot solve the obesity problem on their own, but the problem cannot be solved without their participation.

On Tuesday, June 2nd, a Witness to Hunger/Children’s Health Watch policy briefing was held on Capitol Hill. As part of the Witness to Hunger program, three mothers who spoke at the briefing, along with  37 other women, have spent much of the past year using cameras and video to document their struggle to provide nutritious food for their children in the lower-income neighborhoods of Philadelphia. Created by Mariana Chilton, an Assistant Professor at the Drexel University School of Public Health, with funding from the Claneil Foundation, Inc., the Witness to Hunger program provides a human face to child nutrition reauthorization legislation pending on Capitol Hill. One of the mothers, Erica Smalley, stated “when all you can provide your child is a box of Oodles of Noodles night after night, that free or reduced lunch is really the only nutrition that my child has during the day.” She continued, "our kids need and deserve something nutritious, something that can get them through the day, and more importantly, give them something that is going to make them healthy and strong. If this plan isn’t reauthorized, I don’t know what my kids are going to do.” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) spoke from the audience calling for increased awareness and support for the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act and policies fighting against hunger, "These are your neighbors who are starving. These are our citizens who are dealing with no food on their table. This is unacceptable in this country.” For more on both briefings see Related Links.

School junk-food reform leads to healthier students

On Capitol Hill, Witness the Way Policy Meets Real Families’ Lives

 

Child Nutrition Reauthorization in the News

On Monday, June 8, 2009, SNA spokesperson Peggy Lawrence SNS, who serves as child nutrition director for Rockdale County School District in Georgia, was interviewed on MyFox Atlanta Channel 5 during Good Day Atlanta on the topic of child nutrition reauthorization. Peggy focused on the need for additional funding for meal reimbursement as well as the need for consistent national nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold on school campus. See the interview through Related Links.

MyFoxNews Peggy Lawrence, SNS on School Nutrition

 

Stimulus School Food Equipment Grants Begin to be Announced

The school food equipment grants made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have begun to be announced. News outlets in Tennessee reported on several school district nutrition programs recieving funding on June 8, 2009. See Related Links to read more.

The school food equipment grants made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have begun to be announced. News outlets in Tennessee reported on several school district nutrition programs recieving funding on June 8, 2009. See Related Links to read more.

Tenn. schools get stimulus funds for lunchroom equipment   

Memphis City Schools to receive $191K for lunchroom equipment

 

Update on Philadelphia School Meals Program

The popular and successful pilot program that provides a no-hassle free lunch for tens of thousands of low-income Philadelphia school children will continue through the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, Congressman Chaka Fattah (D, PA-02) announced last Friday. Fattah spoke last Friday morning with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who told the Philadelphia Congressman he was granting an extension in response to Fattah's May 29 letter and to urgent requests from Pennsylvania's Senators and Representatives. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had announced earlier this year it was affirming a decision by the Bush Administration to terminate the pilot school lunch program for the School District of Philadelphia at the end of the 2009-2010 term. Secretary Vilsack met with Fattah and other Pennsylvania legislators who strongly urged continuation.

On June 4, 2009, Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) introduced S. 1195, legislation that would require the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out the Philadelphia universal feeding pilot program until the last day of the 2012-2013 school year of the School District of Philadelphia. The bill is co-sponsored by Senator Casey (D-PA.)

Fattah Announces USDA Has Approved Extension for Philadelphia School Feeding Pilot Program

S. 1195

 

Study Finds Barriers to Whole Grain Use in School Meals

The Spring issue of the Journal of Child Nutrition and Management released this week included a study by researchers at the University of Minnesota that detailed the barriers and opportunities related to menuing whole grain products in school meal programs. While over 85% of school nutrition programs have efforts under way to increase the amount of whole grains served to students, cost and availability of whole grain items have been previously identified as challenges.

The study's authors found that school nutrition professionals wanted a standard measure for the amount of whole grain in food items. The confusion lies not in defining whole grain flour, which is ground from unrefined kernels of wheat, oats, rye, etc., but in defining a whole grain product. Whole grain products are made with whole grain flour, plus other ingredients, and sorting out the whole grain content of a food product can be challenging. The researchers write that one definition for whole grain products, from the Food and Drug Administration, is based on the amount of whole grain in the total weight of the product. Another, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, defines a whole grain product as one in which whole grains account for 51 percent of the total flour content. Additionally, several states have policies that define whole grains in other ways, sometimes based on the order of ingredients listed on the nutrition label. See links below for more information.

Study Finds Barriers to Whole Grain Use in School Meals

The Journal of Child Nutrition and Management

 

Eliminating the Reduced Price Category

One of the priority issues for SNA during the 2009 Child Nutrition Reauthorization is the elimination of the reduced price category as a way to increase access to healthy school meals for families challenged by the 40 cent reduced price fee. Recently, a web page was added to the SNA website with more information on this legislative proposal. Check it out at the link below the need to take this step and eliminate reduced price.

Eliminating the Reduced Price Category

 

Are You a Fan? Do You Tweet? School Nutrition and Social Media

Social media has been all the rage for a few months now as social networking sites like Facebook continue to rise in popularity. A March 2009 report by Nielsen Online found that networking and blogging sites account for almost ten percent of time spent on the internet -- more than email. And every major news outlet has done a story on a web service called "Twitter" in the past several months, mainly around the increase in Twitter’s visitors by more than 1,300 percent between February 2008 and February 2009. SNA has joined Twitter under the name 'SchoolLunch' and over 950 people currently follow the Association through the service. SNA also has a fan page on Facebook for members and non-members to network online. So what exactly is Twitter? How do you Tweet? Why become a fan?  Click on the link below to learn more about SNA’s social media initiatives.

Are You a Fan? Do You Tweet? School Nutrition and Social Media

 

ANC Update: Check Out the Child Nutrition Policy Sessions

Interested in finding out the latest on Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2009?  If you are attending ANC 2009 in Las Vegas from June 29-July 2, be sure to attend Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2009: SNA Activities and Update.  This Hot Topic education session will discuss where the Association stands on Reauthorization and update you on where Congress is heading.  The session will also discuss how you can become more involved with the reauthorization process. For more information about this and other ANC education sessions, please visit the link below.

ANC 2009

 

USDA Secretary Plants “Good Food Garden” at DC School

On Wednesday, June 3, 2009, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, along with representatives from Share Our Strength, the Food Network, and Comcast, planted a school garden at the SEED School in Washington, DC.  The garden will provide healthy, fresh and nutritious fruits and vegetables to students in Washington, DC schools.  The garden will remain a permanent part of the school and will be integrated into the 7th grade civics and life sciences curriculum. 

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Unveils Garden; Share’s Agency’s Priorities on Improving Child Nutrition

 

Webinar Wednesdays Archive Now Available

All of the SNF/USDA Food Allergy Series webinars are now available in archives on the Webinar Wednesdays section of the SNA website.  If you would like to view these, and any other SNF webinar, please visit the link below. 

SNF Webinar Wednesdays

 

Food Inc Movie Opens this Week

On June 12, 2009, the movie Food Inc is scheduled to open in a handful of major cities. The documentary movie in the spirit of Michael Moore seeks to "change the way you look at food" and focuses on the food industry including animal welfare, food safety and nutrition. The movie's website includes an interactive cafeteria with several action alerts and petitions relating to child nutrition reauthorization. One issue being pushed by the filmmakers is support for the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act of 2009, S. 934 and HR 1324 introduced by Senator Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. Woolsey (D-CA) respectively. SNA supports this legislation as it would eliminate the time and place rule and update current nutrition standards for foods sold outside of the school meal programs. A national lobby day is planned for June 24th to support this legislation.

Food Inc www.foodincmovie.com/

 

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, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Federal, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

 

 


 
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