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Tuesday Morning - April 16, 2013

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April 16, 2013

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

President Announces 2014 Budget; Includes Grant Funding for School Cafeteria Equipment
Action Alert for Proposed Legislation in Senate and House
House Bill School Nutrition Flexibility Act Introduced
Senators Introduce Legislation to Eliminate Weekly Maximums on Grains and Meat and Meat Alternates
Congressional Calendars: How About a Cafeteria Visit?
Comment Period on Proposed Competitive Foods Regulations Closed
USDA Releases Guidance Document on Salad Bars in the National School Lunch Program
USDA Releases Guidance on the Seamless Summer Option with the National School Lunch Program
USDA Announces Updated Summer Feeding Promotional Information

State Policy

West Virginia Passes Feed to Achieve Act
Maryland County Takes Another Look at Local Wellness Policy
Study Finds Stringent State Policies Improve Student Health

Reports, Webinars, and Events

USDA Tracking Farm to School Programs
USDA Releases Evaluation of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

SNA Executive Team Events and Regional Meetings


Federal Policy

President Announces 2014 Budget; Includes Grant Funding for School Cafeteria Equipment

President Obama has announced his FY2014 Budget for the federal government which included additional funds supporting nutritional programs. The budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) includes $35 million in grant money for schools to purchase necessary equipment to help meet the new guidelines from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA). It also shores up Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) benefits that were set to be cut this November. The next step of the budget process is for Congress to begin debate on the Appropriations Committees before votes in the respective Chambers. For a memo from OFW covering highlights on the USDA and FDA portions of the budget request, click here.

Action Alert for Proposed Legislation in Senate and House

Please help us in providing healthy school meals each day. Contact your Senators and Member of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor S. 427/H.R. 1303. For a customizable form letter to send to your House Members and Senators, visit http://capwiz.com/asfsa/issues/alert/?alertid=62541546. Read the stories below for more background on the introduced legislation.

House Bill School Nutrition Flexibility Act Introduced

Members of Congress Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH), along with 25 cosponsors, Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Larry Bucshon (R-IN), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), James Renacci (R-OH), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Doc Hastings (R-WA), David Roe (R-WA), Sam Graves (R-MO), Thomas Petri (R-WI), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), Judy Chu (D-CA), Aaron Schock (R-IL), Robert E. Latta (R-OH), Stevan Pearce (R-NM), Renee Ellmers (R-NC), and Collin C. Peterson (D-MN) have introduced a bill that will make the USDA revisions to grains and protein permanent similar to the Senate Bill. The House Bill also includes an amendment allowing local schools to set the price for a "paid" meal where the program is well managed.

Senators Introduce Legislation to Eliminate Weekly Maximums on Grains and Meat and Meat Alternates

Recently, Senators John Hoeven (R-ND), Dan Coats (R-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), James Inhofe (R-OK), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Pat Roberts (R-KS), John Thune (R-SD), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced S. 427, the “Sensible School Lunch Act,” which would amend the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) by eliminating the weekly maximums for grains and meat/meat alternates. SNA staff worked with Senator Hoeven’s staff on drafting the legislation which would permanently resolve the first point on SNA’s 2013 Legislative Issue Paper. The SNA Executive Team participated in a press conference with Senators Hoeven and Pryor on March 6 at the U.S. Capitol. The full text of the legislation can be found here.

Congressional Calendars: How About a Cafeteria Visit?

During recess periods, many Senators and Members of Congress head back to connect with constituents in their districts. The Senate and House are both on State Work/Constituent Work Weeks during May 27-31, 2013. That would be a great time to reach out and invite them to visit your cafeteria and see how school meals help the kids in their districts. To see the calendars for 2013, click here. For SNA’s toolkit on setting up a Cafeteria Site Visit, click here.

Comment Period on Proposed Competitive Foods Regulations Closed

The comment period closed on April 9th for the proposed regulations which govern items sold in school a la carte lines, vending machines and snack bars during the school day, excluding food brought from home, served in classroom parties, sold through occasional fundraisers, or at after school events. SNA’s comments, as well as information about the process SNA took to develop their comments are available by clicking here. Over 197,000 comments were submitted to USDA. However, a vast majority of those comments were mass grassroots campaigns and are not necessarily unique comments. SNA will soon be selecting two winners for a trip for 2 to SNA’s 2014 Legislative Action Conference based on SNA members who submitted comments. Stay tuned for the announcement!

USDA Releases Guidance Document on Salad Bars in the National School Lunch Program

USDA released a memorandum which supersedes the January 21, 2011, policy memo SP 02-2011, Salad Bars in the National School Lunch Program. This revision includes updates based on the revised nutrition standards for school meals and includes questions and answers. This memorandum continues to provide state agencies with information on how salad bars can effectively be used in the service of reimbursable meals and includes information on portion size, point of service, nutrient analysis, and food safety for school meals. To read the memo in full, click here.

USDA Releases Guidance on the Seamless Summer Option with the National School Lunch Program

This memorandum consolidates the recent policy changes in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) that affect the implementation of the Seamless Summer Option (SSO). This memorandum supersedes SP-11-2009, Revised 2009 Edition of the Questions and Answers for the National School Lunch Program’s Seamless Summer Option. To read the memo in its entirety, click here.

USDA Announces Updated Summer Feeding Promotional Information

Summer is almost here and USDA along with SNA are working to increase awareness of and participation in the Summer Feeding Program. USDA has updated its website to contain information on how to promote your program with flyers, how tos, and guides to media outreach. It also includes examples of PSAs, soliciting volunteers, success stories from other school districts, and other helpful tools to ensure as many kids as possible have access to healthy meals during the summer months. For operators in rural programs, there is information as well and an index of past webinars. All of the information will help your program better support your students during the lazy, hazy days of summer!


State Policy

West Virginia Passes Feed to Achieve Act

Both Chambers of the West Virginia legislature overwhelmingly passed the Feed to Achieve Act with the Governor expected to sign it into law this week. The goal of the legislation is to form public-private partnerships aimed at providing funding for universal free meals for all students in West Virginia. While there is support for feeding children in the state, some supporters expressed concerns with the approach laid out in the legislation. More information can be found here and here.

Maryland County Takes Another Look at Local Wellness Policy

Howard County in Maryland is taking another look at its local school wellness policy. Over 150 attended a hearing on the proposed policy with all speaking out against various aspects it contained. The biggest issues of concern were access to sugary drinks and snacks in vending machines, as well as the lack of physical activity. The final vote on the policy will be May 9th.

Study Finds Stringent State Policies Improve Student Health

A study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that states with stringent nutritional guidelines had fewer obese students, especially for those who qualify for free and reduced meals. The study was conducted before the passage and implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act amongst eighth graders in 40 states. The results showed that students who consumed meals in states with stricter nutritional policies than the federal government were 12% more likely to have a leaner BMI. Additional information can be found here.


Reports, Webinars, and Events

USDA Tracking Farm to School Programs

In order to establish realistic goals with regard to “increasing the availability of local foods in eligible schools,” in March USDA began conducting a first-of-its-kind nationwide census, surveying over 13,000 school districts to determine how many schools currently purchase local foods. The Farm to School Census will prioritize gathering procurement data related to local sourcing, with documentation of additional farm to school activities (e.g. the prevalence of school gardens, promotional activities, and curriculum integration, etc.) as a secondary objective. Foodservice directors from all public school district School Food Authorities (SFAs) are being asked to complete the Census. Only school foodservice directors should complete the Census, and only one response per SFA is required. Please do not submit responses for individual schools. For more information and to complete the Census information, click here.

USDA Releases Evaluation of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

USDA has released a summary of results of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program which aims 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. The report found that students participating in the program consumed more fruits and vegetables than nonparticipating students. To read more about the summary, click here.


SNA Executive Team Events and Regional Meetings

April 2-6, 2013, Florida State Conference, Orlando, FL
April 8-10, 2013, American Commodity Distribution Association's Annual National Conference, Nashville, TN
April 11-13, 2013, Georgia State Conference, Savannah, GA
April 15-20, 2013, National Leadership Conference, Savannah, GA
April 26-27, 2013, Kids Healthy Recipe Challenge, Baltimore, MD


 
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