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Tuesday Morning - January 3, 2012

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January 3, 2012

Table of Contents

USDA Launches New Online Nutrition SuperTracker

USDA Awards Grants to Four States to Improve Direct Certification

Sodium Reduction in School Meals

SNA Executive Team and Regional Director State Visits for January

In Every Issue

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

USDA Launches New Online Nutrition SuperTracker

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack released the new nutrition SuperTracker, with perfect timing to help with keeping New Year’s resolutions. The SuperTracker is available at ChooseMyPlate.gov and was designed to assist individuals in making changes in their lifestyles to reduce their risk of chronic disease and maintain a healthy weight. This new web tool also highlights the second in a series of themed consumer messages supporting the MyPlate icon, “Enjoy Your Food, But Eat Less,” that USDA is promoting over the next three months.

This free tool can be accessed at any time and users can choose from a variety of features to support their nutritional and physical activity goals. SuperTracker has the ability to:

  • Personalize recommendations for what and how much to eat and amount of physical activity;
  • Track foods and physical activity from an expanded database of foods and physical activities;
  • Customize features such as goal setting, virtual coaching, weight tracking and journaling; and,
  • Measure progress with comprehensive reports ranging from a simple meal summary to in-depth analysis of food groups and nutrient intake over time.

For more information on the SuperTracker, visit: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/SuperTracker/default.aspx

USDA Awards Grants to Four States to Improve Direct Certification

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary Kevin Concannon recently announced awards to help four states improve enrollment in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs through a process of direct certification. Direct Certification requires states and local educational agencies to automatically enroll students from households already participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, without the need for an additional application from the child’s family to assist low-income households with children eligible for free meals at school.

Florida, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were chosen to receive the grants totaling nearly $2.2 million, provided by the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Act of 2010. The grants are intended to help states increase the rate of direct certification for children in households receiving SNAP benefits. USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) anticipates awarding additional grants to states meeting eligibility requirements each quarter throughout the year. Twenty Direct Certification Grants totaling more than $6 million have been made to 16 states since January 2011, including the recently announced grants.

Sodium Reduction in School Meals

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) was recently mentioned in an Agri-Pulse article pertaining to sodium levels in school meals. The US Department of Agriculture’s “Nutritional Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs” proposes to cut sodium allowance in school meals by 50 percent over a 10 year period.

The 2012 appropriations bill passed in Congress late December would not implement the sodium reduction beyond Target I levels, a reduction over the next two years. SNA’s stance is that sodium reduction is possible but should be evaluated after four years to make sure further reduction is necessary and feasible. SNA also recommends that the proposed cuts take into account naturally occurring sodium in dairy products.

The FDA and the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) requested comments on research and data that will better inform both agencies about current and emerging practices by the private sector regarding sodium reduction in foods. The comment period has been extended to January 27, 2012.

To read the full article, visit: http://www.agri-pulse.com/Sodium_SNA_school_meals_12292011.asp

SNA Executive Team and Regional Director State Visits for January

January 15 – 17, Child Nutrition Industry Conference in Orlando, FL


 
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