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April 23, 2011

Table of Contents

Request for Information: Nutrition Information and Ingredient Lists for Foods Used in School Food Service

A Healthier Back to School Article By Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

USDA Awards Grants to Improve Efficiency and Accuracy of National School Meal Program Operations

SNF Webinar: Menu Changes to Meet the New Proposed Meal Patterns

SNA Webinar: Understanding the Proposed School Meal Patterns

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Request for Information: Nutrition Information and Ingredient Lists for Foods Used in School Food Service

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) is interested in examining what nutrition information and ingredient lists are available to schools, information accessibility, and how that information and accessibility compare with the information schools generally need. FNS would like to better understand what information sources are used by schools to both procure foods and plan menus, such as the Child Nutrition Database, USDA Foods nutrition fact sheets, and information gathered directly from the manufacturer. FNS has received numerous inquiries from schools looking for assistance in locating and assessing nutrition information and ingredient lists for both USDA Foods and commercially selected foods. FNS is requesting the source of information and the medium in which the information is received, in addition to the provided nutrition information and ingredients lists, to fully understand what resources schools need to successfully plan school meals.

Please submit information online to the Federal eRulemaking portal: http://www.regulations.gov, or by mail to: Alexandra Lewin, Nutritionist, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 500, Alexandria, VA 22302. Information must be received on or before November 17, 2011.

To learn more, please visit: http://frwebgate3.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/PDFgate.cgi?WAISdocID=ff3uhg/0/2/0&WAISaction=retrieve

A Healthier Back to School Article By Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

Right now, parents are making sure their children are ready to head back to school after the summer. Their checklist to get ready might include new shoes or a new backpack - paper, pens and other supplies.

At USDA, we are working to add another item to the list: nutritious meals and healthy lifestyles for all of America’s children.

If we want to build a strong economy and win the future, then we also need to win the race to educate our kids. And that means making sure that the 32 million kids who eat school lunches every day are fueled by the healthiest, most nutritious food we can provide.

Last year, at the urging of President Obama, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act to make the most important changes to school lunches and breakfasts in over 30 years. Since then, USDA has worked to implement important reforms to help schools feed more nutritious meals to their students – and receive a bit more money to do it.

That means more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products on our lunch tables, and less fat, sugar and sodium.

We are working with schools to help them get creative about offering the tastiest, most appealing meals. And we are making it easier for parents to enroll their kids to get the meals they need.

At the same time, we are working to improve the health of the whole-school environment by helping schools update their ‘wellness policies’ to encourage kids to stay active and learn good eating habits that will last a lifetime. We are setting standards to provide more healthy choices in the a la carte line and vending machines.

And we have helped hundreds of schools embrace these changes – as well as changes in their cafeterias – by participating in the in HealthierUS School Challenge. This program, a key component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let's Move! initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation, is a gold standard that all our schools should try and meet.

As they look towards the first day of class, parents should know that USDA is investing in their child’s future. The improvements we are making to school nutrition mean they’ll be getting the nutritious food they deserve and need to grow, learn and succeed.

USDA Awards Grants to Improve Efficiency and Accuracy of National School Meal Program Operations

Investments in the national school meal program that will protect taxpayer dollars while providing healthy school meals for children in low-income families were announced by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack. The Administrative Review and Training Grants help states improve their operational accuracy in the National School Meals Programs. The grants highlight the work states are doing to improve the integrity and efficiency of program administration and delivery.

"By focusing on program efficiencies, we ensure the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs contribute to the overall well-being of our children, while protecting tax-payer dollars," said Secretary Vilsack. "These concerted efforts enhance states’ program effectiveness and provide important paths to healthy lifestyles and outcomes for our nation’s schoolchildren."

Working in collaboration with USDA, state agencies continue to enhance nutrition assistance program integrity. This year, USDA is investing in process improvement efforts across its nutrition assistance programs that examine local processes and identify and implement efficiencies. The department is also interested in funding projects that improve technology usage, such as document imaging, telephone interviews and web-based access to case status information.

The grant periods range from one to three years, during which states will create and implement training and technology improvements to assist in identifying, training and monitoring school food authorities where a high level of risk for errors in program operations exist. Awards will be made to the following States:

  • Hawaii - $1,499,385.00
  • Indiana - $1,017,920.00
  • Missouri - $1,276,900.00
  • New Hampshire - $1,409,532.85
  • South Dakota - $843,158.00
  • Washington - $1,478,700.00

More information can be found at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/grants.htm.

SNF Webinar: Menu Changes to Meet the New Proposed Meal Patterns

The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) in partnership with the National Dairy Council will be offering a FREE Wednesday Webinar on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 from 2:00-3:15 pm EDT, entitled “Menu Changes to Meet the New Proposed Meal Patterns”

This webinar will explore how three school nutrition professionals changed their menus and procurement practices to meet the new proposed meal patterns. Hear how they have reduced sodium, introduced whole grains, and increased the variety and servings of fruits and vegetables. This session will also explore the state of Minnesota’s “Great Trays” program that has helped over 200 school districts prepare for the new proposed meal pattern requirements and teach you how to use the Great Trays resources in your district.

WEBINAR OBJECTIVES

  • Participants will learn about menu changes that they can make to meet the new proposed meal patterns
  • Participants will hear tips on how to source food items that will help meet the new proposed meal patterns
  • Participants will learn about resources such as recipes that can be used to meet the new proposed meal patterns

PROGRAM DETAILS

SNA Webinar: Understanding the Proposed School Meal Patterns

Trying to make sense of USDA’s proposed nutrition standards? Tune into SNA’s Wednesday Webinar, “Understanding the Proposed School Meal Patterns.” This webinar - a repeat of the popular session at ANC Nashville - will be hosted by Cindy Brooks, School Nutrition Association Public Policy and Legislation Committee Chair and Heather Hopwood, MPH, Program Analyst, Child Nutrition Division, USDA.

WEBINAR OBJECTIVES

  • Understand the proposed school meal patterns put forth by the USDA and specific changes from current standards.
  • Learn the impact these rules have on operations.
  • Become familiar with the process for comments as well as the timeline for the final rule.

PROGRAM DETAILS

 


 
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