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Tuesday Morning - October 18, 2011

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October 18, 2011

Table of Contents

Alliance for a Healthier Generation Webinar

FDA Announces Public Meeting and Comment Period on Efforts to Reduce Sodium Consumption

Nottingham Elementary School Visit

USDA Farm to School Procurement Information

SNF Peer2Peer Conference

AHA Sodium Reduction Fact Sheet

Federal Register: FNS Requesting Comments on Indirect Costs

Request for Information: Availability to SFAs on Nutrition Information and Ingredient Lists for Foods Used in School Food Service

USDA Evaluation of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program: Interim Report

Chairwoman Stabenow Sends Deficit Reduction Committee Bipartisan Recommendations for $23 Billion in Cuts

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Joins First Lady Michelle Obama to Salute HealthierUS School Challenge Award Winners

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SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

Alliance for a Healthier Generation Webinar

There are a lot of questions surrounding the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s new Healthy Schools Program school meals criteria, which incorporate requirements from both the HealthierUS Schools Challenge and the USDA proposed rule, and are intended to prepare schools for implementation of the USDA’s final rule, to be published later this school year. For this reason, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation is offering a webinar on the new criteria. It will be open to all interested parties.

The webinar is entitled “Getting Ahead of the Curve: The New Healthy Schools Program School Meals Criteria” and will take place on Friday, November 4 from 12:00pm – 1:00pm EDT.

To register, go to: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/953060577

For those who are unable to attend the live webinar, it will be archived at: www.healthiergeneration.org/schoolmeals; login is required to view this material.

FDA Announces Public Meeting and Comment Period on Efforts to Reduce Sodium Consumption

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) have issued a joint Federal Register notice announcing a public meeting on approaches to reducing sodium content in restaurant and processed foods.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, November 10, 2011 at the FDA headquarters White Oak Building 31, Room 1503, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20993 beginning at 7:30am EDT. Those interested in attending must register by November 3, 2011 at https://www.signup4.net/Public/ap.aspx?EID=FDA110E

It is also possible to submit oral statements at the meeting and participate in breakout sessions. The break-out session topics will be available prior to the meeting at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodIngredientsPackaging/ucm253316.htm

Written comments are due by November 29, 2011. The public meeting is part of a broader initiative by FDA and FSIS to reduce sodium consumption. The agencies have cited the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and a 2010 report by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies as a basis for their actions. They state that average sodium intake for Americans is approximately 3,300 mg per day, while the recommended intake is only 2,300 mg per day. Americans over 51 years old, African-Americans of any age, and persons who have hypertension, diabetes, or kidney disease should consume only 1,500 mg per day.

More information can be found at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-10-12/pdf/2011-26371.pdf

The meeting will also be webcast at: http://fda.yorkcast.com/webcast/Viewer/?peid=ccf43ac58fc54f48aef5078e657b86fc1d

USDA Farm to School Procurement Information

US Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) recently released Topic 2 "How Procurement Works: Planning, Executing, and Administering a Competitive Procurement" of its free online procurement training. The training is open to the public and Topic 2 provides detailed information about each stage of the procurement process for Child Nutrition Programs.

For more information, including registration, visit: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/F2S/f2spolicy.htm then click on "USDA Online Procurement Training".

Additionally, on October 6th, FNS published a memorandum encouraging school food service facilities, Head Start centers, pre-schools, adult and child day care centers, and food preparation centers to consider the USDA’s Rural Development Community Facilities Program grants and loans as a funding option to upgrade their community’s child nutrition facilities and purchase equipment that could improve access to healthy, locally grown products.

To view the memo, please visit: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/Policy-Memos/2012/SP01_CACFP01_SFSP01-2012_os.pdf.

Nottingham Elementary School Visit

In celebration of National School Lunch Week and the School Lunch – Let’s Grow Healthy campaign, Arlington Public Schools (Virginia) invited two local farmers to set up produce stands in Nottingham Elementary’s school cafeteria, allowing students to taste test some of the healthy foods grown in their region and served in school meals.

The farmers, cafeteria staff, and special guests, SNA CEO Frank DiPasquale and US Department of Agriculture (FNS) Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, all spent time talking with students about the different locally grown fruits and vegetables and the importance of a healthy diet. Kids of all ages enjoyed sampling the local apples and mixed green salads. The school menu also featured Oven Roasted Chicken and Cornbread with Fresh Local Asian Pear and Roasted Local Butternut Squash, prepared with cinnamon and dried cranberries.

Much of the produce served in Arlington schools comes from farms within 100 miles of Arlington. The school district has also made a number of healthy changes to school menus, like switching to whole grains and leaner meats, offering more vegetarian options and baking rather than frying foods. And the daily salad choices aren’t the only “green” things in Arlington lunch lines – the district’s paperboard lunch trays are made from 100% recycled materials and are compostable and biodegradable.

SNF Peer2Peer Conference

Join the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) for the Peer2Peer Connect conference call on Tuesday, October 25th from 2:00-3:00pm EDT. This series will allow you to connect and share resources, ideas and strategies on topics affecting school nutrition programs.

This Peer2Peer Connect session, in partnership with the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), and will continue the discussion from our September 14th webinar, "Rethink the Drink: The Health Impact on Student Beverage Choices."

Call in to ask questions of our expert panel on the following topic related to flavored milk: “How can I better inform key stakeholders about the nutritional importance of flavored milk in my students’ diets?”

To register, visit: www.schoolnutrition.org/peer2peer

AHA Sodium Reduction Fact Sheet

The American Heart Association (AHA) recently released a new fact sheet on sodium and children. It lays out a strong case for why sodium reduction in kids is important, including in school meals. It highlights:

  • Reducing sodium intake could have a big impact on health and health care costs -- nationally, a 9.5% drop in sodium intake could reduce cardiac events by 1 million and costs by $32 billion
  • Kids' salt preferences are influenced by food choices, and liking for salt can be reduced if they are exposed to a lower sodium diet when young
  • Kids are eating too much salt, including from school lunches
  • Kids with high blood pressure show warning signs for heart disease while still in childhood
  • Prevalence of high blood pressure is increasing in children

The fact sheet can be found here.

Federal Register: FNS Requesting Comments on Indirect Costs

The Food and Nutrition Service division of the US Department of Agriculture is requesting comments on an indirect cost study. The study is required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 to assess the extent to which school food authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs pay indirect costs.

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions that were used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

SNA is currently formulating comments for submission and members are also encouraged to send in comments to FNS.

Submissions must be made by December 6, 2011. Comments may be sent to: John Endahl, Senior Program Analyst, Office of Research and Analysis, Food and Nutrition Service, USDA, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 1004, Alexandria, VA 22302. Comments may also be submitted via fax to the attention of John Endahl at 703-305-2576, via email to john.endahl@fns.usda.gov or through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

For more, visit: http://www.federalregister.gov/articles/

Request for Information: Availability to SFAs on Nutrition Information and Ingredient Lists for Foods Used in School Food Service

Nutrition information and ingredient lists are crucial to planning meals for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. For this reason, USDA FNS is interested in learning what is available to schools and what information is lacking. FNS would also like to better understand how services such as the Child Nutrition Database, USDA Foods nutrition fact sheet, and information provided by the manufacturer are used in procuring foods and menu planning. Additionally, FNS would also like to know the source of information used and how the information was found.

Please submit information by November 17, 2011 to Alexandra Lewin, Nutritionist, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 500, Alexandria, VA 22302 or through www.regulations.gov.

For more information, visit: http://frwebgate2.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/TEXTgate.cgi?WAISdocID=SvqKa6/2/1/0&WAISaction=retrieve

USDA Evaluation of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program: Interim Report

The US Department of Agriculture released an interim evaluation report on the results from the Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program (FFVP) for the 2011-2012 school year. It indicates that in participating schools the program increased student consumption of fruits and vegetables by about 15%, on average, as compared to consumption in non-FFVP schools. The final evaluation report, to be completed next year, will expand on this interim report by including detailed information on how the FFVP was implemented in a nationally-representative sample of schools.

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) was created to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among students in the Nation’s poorest elementary schools by providing free fresh fruits and vegetables to students outside of regular school meals. FFVP began as a pilot program in 2002 and was converted into a nationwide program as part of the 2008 Farm Bill.

The report can be found at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/ora/MENU/Published/CNP/cnp.htm

Chairwoman Stabenow Sends Deficit Reduction Committee Bipartisan Recommendations for $23 Billion in Cuts

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee presented Congress' only bipartisan and bicameral recommendations to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, recommending $23 billion in cuts in programs under the Agriculture Committees' jurisdiction. Stabenow was joined by Senate Agriculture Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK), and House Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN). Stabenow said she and the other Agriculture Committee leaders would continue to work with their Agriculture Committee members to deliver to the Deficit Reduction Committee further, more detailed recommendations in the coming weeks.

With the current Farm Bill set to expire in 2012, the Agriculture Committees are working on a number of policies for the reauthorization process. In these policies are conservation efforts to protect farm land and nutrition programs such as SNAP. The completed legislative package will be available by November 1.

To read the full letter, visit: http://stabenow.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=502

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Joins First Lady Michelle Obama to Salute HealthierUS School Challenge Award Winners

On Monday, October 17, The First Lady hosted a reception on the South Lawn to honor the 1,273 schools that met her goal to double the number of participants in the HealthierUS School Challenge within one year. The Challenge pays tribute to schools that create healthier school environments through exceptional nutrition education, nutritious food and beverage choices, and opportunities for physical activity.

"Achieving the HealthierUS School Challenge recognition demonstrates a school's deep commitment to create and maintain a healthy school environment," US Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack said.

Those honored at the White House ceremony voluntarily agreed to provide healthy meals based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which included serving a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grain foods, and fat-free or low fat milk. Schools participating in the Challenge are recognized with Gold Award of Distinction, Gold, Silver, or Bronze-level certification.

The full list of HealthierUS School Challenge winners can be found at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/healthierus/awardwinners.html


 
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