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Tuesday Morning - January 31, 2012

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January 31, 2012

Table of Contents

USDA Releases New Meal Pattern

A Message from SNA CEO Frank DiPasquale

A Signed Letter from Michelle Obama Praising School Nutrition Professionals

Sam Kass Blogs about Release of New School Meal Pattern Regulation

Webinar Wednesday: “The New School Meal Patterns: What You Need to Know”

FNS Proposed Rule for State Agencies on Direct Certification Benchmarks

SNA Executive Team and Regional Director State Visits for February

In Every Issue

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

USDA Releases New Meal Pattern

On Wednesday, January 25th, USDA released the School Meal Pattern Final Regulation. SNA has launched a one-stop shop for materials and news relating to the release of the final rule. Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/mealpattern for member only resources, including: a detailed summary and analysis of USDA’s Final Regulations, SNA’s Meal Pattern Plan of Action, SNA’s Press Release, talking points, and more. Be sure and familiarize yourself with the link and check back periodically as we will update the site with more information as it becomes available.

A Message from SNA CEO Frank DiPasquale

SNA President Helen Phillips and I attended First Lady Michelle Obama’s press event announcing the release of the new meal pattern regulations. The event took place at one of the schools of SNA Past President, Penny McConnell.

Overall it was a terrific day for school nutrition and the children we serve. Secretary Vilsack was a strong advocate for school nutrition professionals and their programs, and the First Lady’s comments were positive as a whole. In fact, she took time to recognize school nutrition programs that are well on their way to meeting the new standards saying, “so many schools across this country have been working so hard to improve the food that they serve to our kids in school. In fact, there are many schools that have been meeting these new standards for years, long before this legislation was passed. Thousands more have made significant improvements, offering their students a whole array of healthy -- and tasty, mind you -- new options.”

Yet, the media focused on a few unfortunate comments, turning the energy and attitude in a very different direction. At SNA headquarters, we have received many emails and phone calls voicing your displeasure with those remarks, and we share these concerns. We have been in contact with both the White House and USDA regarding our concerns.

SNA has also reached out to national reporters about the remarkable work school nutrition professionals are already doing to offer healthier choices in school cafeterias. As a result of these efforts, SNA messages about your tremendous achievements have been featured in numerous national news stories. I encourage you to visit www.schoolnutrition.org/mealpattern to see a sampling of the coverage.

In all of this, however, let’s remember it was a good day for children and SNA. The final regulation responded to many of our concerns and it was a major change from the proposed rule. The new meal pattern will help school nutrition professionals build on current efforts to provide more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy choices in our cafeterias.

The First Lady’s full speech can be found at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/25/remarks-first-lady-school-lunch-standards-announcement

A Signed Letter from Michelle Obama Praising School Nutrition Professionals

In a letter signed by the First Lady, Michelle Obama, expresses gratitude for the tireless efforts school nutrition professionals make every day to creatively prepare healthful meals for America’s children with tight budgets and limited resources.

The First Lady applauds the progress that has been made and looks forward to working to continue building on those efforts. Read the full letter here.

Sam Kass Blogs about Release of New School Meal Pattern Regulation

After the release of the meal pattern regulation, Assistant White House Chef Sam Kass, blogged about the experience. “We know that we would not be here without the leadership and dedication of school nutrition professionals from across the nation”, stated Kass.

To read the full blog, visit:
http://blogs.usda.gov/2012/01/27/working-with-our-partners-for-a-healthier-future/

Webinar Wednesday: “The New School Meal Patterns: What You Need to Know”

The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF), in partnership with the School Nutrition Association (SNA), and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), is hosting a webinar entitled: “The New School Meal Patterns: What You Need to Know”. This webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, February 1 at three different times: 12pm, 2pm and 4pm EST. Each will last approximately 55 minutes with a brief Q&A to follow.

During this webinar, members will learn what the final regulation entails, and how the new standards differ from current requirements. The webinar will be moderated by Cindy Brooks of the School Nutrition Association Public Policy & Legislation Committee with guest speakers Dr. Janey Thornton, PhD, SNS, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services at USDA; Sam Kass, Assistant Chef at the White House; and Cindy Long, Director, Child Nutrition Division for Food and Nutrition Service at USDA.

Please note space is limited for each session so plan on joining early. For more, visit:
http://www.schoolnutrition.org/Content.aspx?id=10256

FNS Proposed Rule for State Agencies on Direct Certification Benchmarks

US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service division is releasing a proposed rule for State Agencies in the Federal Register today. The provisions would require State Agencies to meet certain direct certification performance standards and to develop and implement continuous improvement plans if they fail to achieve them. This proposed rule will amend National School Lunch Program and SNAP regulations for the collection of data elements needed to compute each State’s direct certification performance rate to compare with the new benchmarks.

FNS is seeking comments on the proposed rule. Comments are open for the next 60 days and should be addressed to: Vivian Lees, Chief, State Systems Support Branch, Child Nutrition Division, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 639, Alexandria, Virginia 22302-1594. Comments can also be submitted through: http://www.regulations.gov, just follow the online instructions guide.

SNA Executive Team and Regional Director State Visits for February

February 1 – 3: Alaska State Conference, Egan Center, Anchorage, AK
February 26- 28: FRAC National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, Capital Hilton, Washington, DC
TBD: 2013 CNIC Planning Meeting, San Antonio, TX


 
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