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Tuesday Morning - September 28, 2010

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September 28, 2010

Table of Contents

SNA Supports House Passage of S.3307, Sends Letter to House Education and Labor Committee Chairman

SNA Participates in Bridge Builder Breakfast sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center

Conference Focuses on Child Nutrition Policy

Bonus Awards for States Achieving Outstanding, Timely Nutritional Assistance

Survey Data to Support the School Meals Program

Florida Considers Banning Flavored Milk in Schools

Nominate a School Nutrition Professional for the FAME Awards

Webinar Wednesdays: Vegetarian Options with Pizzazz

USDA Holding Webinar on Farm to School Resources

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

SNA Supports House Passage of S.3307, Sends Letter to House Education and Labor Committee Chairman

SNA President Nancy Rice sent a letter to the Honorable George Miller, Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee last Thursday, stating the School Nutrition Association’s support for S. 3307, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The letter was also sent to all members of the House of Representatives. It is anticipated that the House will likely vote on S. 3307 in the coming days before Congress adjourns.

SNA supports this legislation, as it provides essential funds for school meal programs, allowing them to offer a more robust variety of nutritious food choices in cafeterias across the United States.

Although SNA is in support of enacting S. 3307, SNA requests that Congress reconsider one section already included in the bill – Section 205 – as it could damage the effectiveness of the program, reduce participation and fundamentally change the structure of the federal school meals program. If enacted, this provision would establish a Federal mandate on local schools to raise school meal prices, regardless of local economic conditions.

SNA also expressed its disappointment in the use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds to offset the cost of Child Nutrition Reauthorization.

The letter urges Congress to fix these two problems soon after enactment of S. 3307.

http://www.schoolnutrition.org/Blog.aspx?id=14476&blogid=622

SNA Participates in Bridge Builder Breakfast sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center

On September 22, SNA Chief Executive Officer Barbara Belmont participated in a "Bridge Builder Breakfast" sponsored by the Washington, DC based Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC). The BPC is a non-profit organization established in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell. The mission of the BPC is to engage top political figures, advocates, academics and business leaders in the art of compromise as they work together to develop and promote solutions that can attract the public support and political momentum on issues facing the country. The BPC's September discussion focused on child nutrition and food policy.

Joining SNA to discuss, "Back to School: How Public Policy is Affecting our Children's Diet," were panelists representing the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Vice Chairman of the House Rules Committee and co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus, also participated on the panel which was moderated by BPC Senior Fellow and Former USDA Secretary Dan Glickman.

Child Nutrition legislation, children's marketing/advertising and the rewrite of the upcoming 2012 Farm Bill were some of the primary topics addressed during the one hour discussion. In addition to the panel discussion, the audience heard a presentation by the new Executive Director of the First Lady's Let's Move! campaign, Robin Schepper.

Conference Focuses on Child Nutrition Policy

The focus of last week’s joint Consumer Federation of America and Grocery Manufacturers Association Annual Food Policy was on child nutrition policy. Throughout the conference, speakers discussed the challenges and opportunities facing policymakers in trying to create sustainable child nutrition policy. Featured speakers included:

  • Dr. Janey Thornton, USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services
  • Sam Kass, White House Senior Policy Advisor, Healthy Food Initiatives
  • Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH)
  • Dan Christenson, Senior Professional Staff Member, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
  • Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director, Coalition on Human Needs

Kass and Representative Fudge both spoke during the first day. Kass discussed First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. He noted that change comes in small steps and that it is very important to pass Child Nutrition Reauthorization before the programs expire September 30th. Representative Fudge stated that she would not vote for the child nutrition reauthorization legislation if it included an offset taking funds from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). She also stressed the need for education to fight obesity.

Christenson and Weinstein spoke on the same panel. Christenson’s remarks discussed ensuring continued support for the child nutrition programs while policy makers are faced with making difficult budget cuts. He noted that funding for the programs is supposed to go up when more children are participating and funding should go down when there are fewer participants. He stated that there is no easy way to maintain funding in the current economic climate. Weinstein outlined a plan to solve the crisis of one in four children living below the poverty line. She called on advocates to demand additional funding for the child nutrition programs come from somewhere other than the SNAP funds.

The final day, Dr. Thornton discussed the federal nutrition programs that the USDA administers, including the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. She noted that there are areas that need improvement, including access to nutrition programs, nutrition in school meals, worker training, and school cafeteria equipment. She also emphasized a lot of positive changes are occurring throughout the country, they are just not covered by the media.

Bonus Awards for States Achieving Outstanding, Timely Nutritional Assistance

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week that USDA will award $18 million in bonus awards to selected States for outstanding and timely customer service in providing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in fiscal year 2009.

Each year, USDA awards a total of $12 million in performance bonuses to the eight States with the best and most improved program access index. The program access index is the ratio of participants to the number of persons below 125 percent of poverty and reflects State performance in reaching those eligible for nutrition benefits. USDA also awards $6 million to the six States with the highest rate of timely processed applications, an important indicator of customer service in administering the Program.

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=2010/09/0482.xml  

Survey Data to Support the School Meals Program

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) commissioned the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) of the National Academies to examine the potential strengths and limitations of using data from the American Community Survey (ACS) or other data sources to establish small area estimates (school district/school) of the percentage of households with school-aged children below the eligibility thresholds for free and reduced-price meals. FNS is interested in alternative methods of developing claiming rates for reimbursement in the National School Lunch Program that are less burdensome to school districts than the customary method of applications. This report provides the conceptual framework and detailed technical approach for the study.

http://www.fns.usda.gov/ora/MENU/Published/CNP/cnp.htm

Florida Considers Banning Flavored Milk in Schools

The Florida State Board of Education has agreed to move forward with a ban on flavored milk, soda, and sugary drinks in order to cut the rate of childhood obesity in the state. The Board had considered the ban earlier this year, but chose to wait until the Federal government took the lead on the issue. Last week, the Board reversed that decision, seeking comments from doctors and other nutrition professionals. They argue that it is necessary for a ban to be enacted by the state, because it could take years for a federal standard to be put in place. The Board will take up discussion of a potential ban during a December 17th meeting.

Florida SNA has already voiced its opposition to banning flavored milks from school nutrition programs. During a hearing this past spring, FSNA testified that removing flavored milks from schools could cause a drop in children’s milk consumption. They asked that the Board wait to impose a ban, noting that Child Nutrition Reauthorization will likely implement the Institute of Medicine’s recommended guidelines for competitive foods. FSNA also emphasized that any state regulations should not conflict with or pre-empt federal child nutrition policy.

State may ban sugary drinks from public schools – Florida Sun-Sentinel

FAME Awards Deadline, October 1

Time is running out to nominate school nutrition leaders and friends for a national Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence (FAME) Award. The nomination deadline is October 1, 2010. For 22 years, the FAME Awards have recognized those who raise the school nutrition bar for others to follow. In addition to awards honoring school nutrition operators is the “Friend of Child Nutrition” category. This category recognizes the invaluable allies and advocates whose support is so necessary in school nutrition.

Past winners have included Global Child Nutrition Foundation President Gene White, SNA Chief Executive Officer Barbara Belmont, SNA Washington Counsel Marshall Matz and former USDA director Les Johnson. Nominations will be taken online or via a downloadable form at www.fameawards.net.

Webinar Wednesdays: Vegetarian Options with Pizzazz

The School Nutrition Foundation, in partnership with Kellogg's, will be offering a FREE Wednesday Webinar on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 from 2:00-3:15 pm EST, "Vegetarian Options with Pizzazz."

In this session, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the basics of vegetarian eating, including the different types of vegetarians and the health benefits associated with meatless meals. You’ll also learn about vegetarian foods and how to incorporate them into your menus—in a way that even a non-vegetarian would enjoy!

For additional information, and to register, please click the link below.

http://www.schoolnutrition.org/Content.aspx?id=14429

USDA Holding Webinar on Farm to School Resources

The USDA Farm to School Team and the Farm to School Network will present a webinar on Thursday, October 7, 2010 from 2:00-3:00pm Eastern Time entitled, “Digging through the Farm to School Resources.” The webinar will be beneficial for the following audiences: State agencies, school food service administrators, farmers and non-profit organizations.

The USDA Farm to School Team will be joined by the National Farm to School Network to share with you where to find supporting materials that will help you start or expand your Farm to School efforts. Resources for each of these groups, as well as an update from the USDA Farm to School Team, will be covered. Registration Link: http://vovici.com/wsb.dll/s/17fb9g46ec0

Should you have any questions regarding the training, please contact: farmtoschool@fns.usda.gov

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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