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Tuesday Morning - August 24, 2010

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August 24, 2010

Table of Contents

School Nutrition Makes Headlines

SNA Launches Tray Talk Website, Releases School Meal Trends Data

New Afterschool Snacking Toolkit

USDA Requests Applications for Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children Demonstrations

USDA Selects Massachusetts to Test Ground-Breaking Nutrition Pilot Program

SNA PAC Contributions Can Now Be Made Online

Economic Research Service Publishes Food Service Cost Study

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

School Nutrition Makes Headlines

With the new school year beginning across the country, school nutrition programs are making headlines for providing healthy, nutritious meals to get kids through the school day. The September issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine features a cover story written by Rachael Ray on the school nutrition programs and Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Ray details her efforts in trying to get Congress to pass Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation and encourages parents to contact their Members of Congress as well. The article also features some suggestions from SNA on how parents can work with school nutrition professionals to improve their school meals. Also included in the article are several examples of outstanding school nutrition programs, featuring several SNA members.

An article on school nutrition program improvements appeared last week in the Christian Science Monitor. The article focused on the results of SNA’s Back to School Trends Report, showing that school nutrition programs across the country are providing healthier meals. Highlighted in the article is the Norfolk Public Schools school nutrition program and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign. The article also mentions TrayTalk.org, SNA’s new website for parents.

Let’s get America’s kids eating healthy! – Everyday with Rachael Ray

School nutrition: Healthier ingredients, more education for 2010-2011 – Christian Science Monitor

SNA Launches Tray Talk Website, Releases School Meal Trends Data

As children return to school this fall, a new School Nutrition Association (SNA) website and survey are demonstrating healthy trends in school cafeterias nationwide.

SNA’s new Tray Talk website, www.TrayTalk.org, is designed to spotlight school meal successes and provide parents with information about healthy school meals. The site, launched last week, features “School Nutrition Success Stories” from across the country, putting the spotlight on two different school nutrition programs each month. “Latest News on the Tray” stories will be posted monthly to provide details on hot topics in school nutrition.

SNA Press Release

The Food Channel Features Healthy Trends in School Meals

More whole grains, less sodium and more fresh produce are all healthy school food trends featured in The Food Channel’s recent stories on school nutrition.

The Food Channel, www.foodchannel.com, is a website providing recipes, food news and reviews, as well as information on food industry trends. The Food Channel shined the spotlight on school meals last month when the site reported live from the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference in Dallas. Visit Highlights from the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Convention to view The Food Channel’s video report on ANC and don’t miss the Top Ten Things Seen at the School Nutrition Association Conference.

The Food Channel also reported on trends in school lunchrooms this fall in the recent web story, Back to School 2010: SNA Trend Survey Shows Districts Are Trying to Serve Healthier Meals.

New Afterschool Snacking Toolkit

Afterschool snacks are important, especially when students have an early lunch period – and when their evening meal may be delayed or of poor quality.

If you think your community could benefit from participating in a new afterschool snack service through the NSLP, or you would like to enhance your existing snack offerings - the new Afterschool Snacking Toolkit is the perfect resource for you.

This online toolkit has the following useful sections:

  • Guidance on starting or expanding your existing program
  • Best practice tips from real programs
  • Promoting your program 
  • Working with the media 
  • Sample afterschool snack menus 
  • Sample production records and other resources

Afterschool Snacking Toolkit

USDA Requests Applications for Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children Demonstrations

On August 11, 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture invited States to apply for an opportunity to test household-based methods of delivering nutrition assistance to low-income children during the summer. USDA is requesting applications to conduct demonstration+s using Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) technology to deliver food benefits to families of children who are certified for free and reduced-price school meals.
One of the most important tools that State and Federal governments have to address child nutrition is the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which enriches the lives of millions of low-income children during the summer, both by making nutritious food available and by providing resources that support summer education and recreation programs. USDA has a long history of partnership with States, local community organizations, and others to strengthen and expand participation in SFSP.

USDA News Release

USDA Selects Massachusetts to Test Ground-Breaking Nutrition Pilot Program

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on August 19, 2010, that Hampden County, Mass., will conduct the first-ever Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) – an incentives-based program to empower low-income Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables. SNAP recipients will receive incentives for healthy eating.

The 2008 Farm Bill authorized $20 million to research whether incentives for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly the Food Stamp Program) will increase their purchase of healthful foods. The Healthy Incentives Pilot will enroll 7,500 randomly selected SNAP households to receive incentives. For every dollar participants spend on fruits and vegetables using their SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, 30 cents will be added to their benefit balance - thus cutting the cost of fruits and vegetables by almost one-third.

Massachusetts was selected competitively based on its comprehensive pilot proposal that included very thorough and strong design, implementation, staffing and management plans.

USDA Press Release

SNA PAC Contributions Can Now Be Made Online

Contributing to SNA’s Political Action Committee is easier than ever! Contributions can now be made online with a few simple clicks. Visit this link: http://www.schoolnutrition.org/LegislativeAction.aspx and click on the SNA PAC logo. After you enter your SNA member password, click on the Donate to SNA PAC logo and make your contribution!

Every year, SNA PAC makes contributions to help members of Congress who have shown leadership in fighting for the health of children. Contributions to SNA PAC help ensure that the school nutrition programs remain a priority in Washington, DC. If you do contribute to the SNA PAC, please note that only SNA members may contribute to SNA PAC. Federal law requires political action committees to report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer for each individual who gives more than $200 in a calendar year. Contributions to SNA PAC may be made in any amount and are voluntary. Your decision to contribute or not will have no bearing on your standing with the Association. Contributions to SNA PAC are not tax deductible.

Economic Research Service Publishes Food Service Cost Study

USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) completed a study in July 2010 entitled School Food Service Costs: Does Location Matter? Through the study, the researchers take into account that all lunches and breakfasts are reimbursed at the same rate for each nationally representative cost of a meal. However, different regions around the country incur a variety of costs for the same meal because cost of living varies between locations. According to the USDA study, previous research has not focused on cost differences across locations.

This study differs from others in that; it uses translog cost function to isolate cost differences due to location and school food authorities (SFA), no assumptions are made about relative lunch and breakfast costs or the independence of the costs of NSLP and non-NSLP and a measure of meal quality is also included in the model. The study took a nationally representative sample of 1, 665 SFAs stratified by Food Nutrition Service from surveys conducted in 2004 for the 2002-2003 school-year.

School Food Service Costs: Does Location Matter? (pdf)

State and Federal Legislation (login required)
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.


 
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