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Tuesday Morning January 8, 2008

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January 8, 2008

 

Table of Contents

Mark Your Calendars for LAC 2008!
FY 2008 Appropriations Bill Passes House and Senate
Congressional Odds and Ends
Presidential Campaign Heats Up in Iowa, New Hampshire
State Legislative Update
Personnel Changes in the School Nutrition Arena
Soaring Food Prices Causing Global Food Supplies to Drop
Study Finds Link Between Dairy Consumption and Cancer Risk
Study Looks at Fast Food Outlets and High School
United Kingdom Bans Snack Food Ads Aimed at Children
 

In Every Issue

Legislative Action Center
Legislative Toolkit
PR Toolkit
State Policy Index
State and Federal Legislation

 

Mark Your Calendars for LAC 2008!

LAC 2008 Logo

Online Registration is now open for SNA’s 2008 Legislative Action Conference (LAC), which will take place March 2-5, 2008, at the JW Marriott Hotel, in the heart of the nation’s capital. Considered the premier legislative meeting on child nutrition issues, LAC affords you the opportunity to help shape and define national policy relating to school nutrition.

Join other SNA members as they advocate for school nutrition programs on Capitol Hill.  LAC 2008 promises to be an exciting conference with great speakers and informative education sessions.  Be sure to stay through the final day, when SNA will begin preparations for the 2009 Child Nutrition Reauthorization.

FY 2008 Appropriations Bill Passes House and Senate

On December 19, 2007, Congress completed work on the $555 billion FY2008 Appropriations Bill and the measure is expected to be signed by the President. The long delayed spending bill will fund almost all agencies in the federal government and increases financial support for federal food and nutrition programs. The bill allocates $16.3 billion to support USDA nutrition assistance programs ($163 million above FY2007). The Appropriations bill should not be confused with the 2007 Farm Bill and its nutrition title, which will be discussed in conference committee in January.

Within the spending bill are several items of interest to school nutrition professionals including:

  • Effective upon the bill being signed into law - the Simplified Summer Food Program (formerly the Lugar Pilot Program) will be expanded to all states and Washington D.C. (it was previously operating in 26 states and Puerto Rico.)
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) was funded at $6 billion (including $400 million in emergency funding) to support an anticipated WIC caseload of 8.55 million participants ($815.6 million above FY2007)
  • Congressional Hunger Center’s Bill Emerson and Mickey Leland Hunger Fellowship Program was funded at $2.475 million. SNA has participated in the program by hosting three Emerson Hunger Fellows in the past several years.
  • McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program was funded at $100 million.
  • Approximately $10 million was appropriated to expand the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to a limited number of schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (beginning with the 2008/2009 school year.)
  • West Virginia was added as an additional state to the CACFP Supper Pilot Program.

For more information on the Appropriations bill, please visit Related Links.

Congressional Odds and Ends

The House of Representatives will return to session on Tuesday, January 15, 2008.  The Senate will return the following week on Tuesday, January 22, 2008. The House Committee on Agriculture has a new member, Representative Robert Latta (R-Ohio).  Latta was elected in a special election held in December 2007.  He replaces Representative Paul Gillmor (R-Ohio) who died in September 2007.

Presidential Campaign Heats Up in Iowa, New Hampshire

primaries

The 2008 presidential election season officially kicked off last week with the Iowa Caucuses, held on Thursday, January 3. Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who co-chaired the Alliance for a Healthier generation with former President Clinton and strongly supported school programs to reduce childhood overweight, placed first among the Republican nominees.  Among the Democrats, Senator Barack Obama edged out the other candidates to win.  Obama is a strong supporter of school nutrition programs including commodities for breakfast and the elimination of the reduced price fee. He also introduced legislation last year that would create a committee to establish nutrition standards for foods sold in schools.  Both parties are now focusing on New Hampshire, which holds in the nation’s first primary today.

The Congressional Hunger Center, in conjunction with Drake University Law School, released a voter education guide discussing the positions of several presidential candidates.  The guide includes about the candidate’s positions on universal school breakfast and the government’s role in expanding federal anti-hunger programs. For a copy of the guide, please see Related Links.

State Legislative Update

With the 2008 state legislative sessions starting in the coming weeks, many legislatures are prefiling bills.  On December 20, 2007, Maine prefiled legislation that would fund a program to eliminate the reduced price category for school breakfast for students in kindergarten through 8th grade.  If passed, the legislation would require all schools to provide breakfast free of charge to children eligible for free or reduced price meals.

In Alabama, the state House Majority Leader announced that he would introduce legislation to increase physical activity time during the school day, encourage serving more fruits and vegetables in schools, and require body mass indexing (BMI) reporting.  The Alabama legislative session begins on February 5th.

In Utah proposed nutrition standards for competitive foods were presented by the state department of education.

Personnel Changes in the School Nutrition Arena

Cindy Long has been named the Director of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Child Nutrition Division.  Long will take over for Stanley Garnett, who retired this month.  Long was a participant in USDA’s Senior Executive Candidate Development Program before joining FNS.

Lynne Parker has been named staff director of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention.  Parker was most recently the director of Child Nutrition Programs and Nutrition at the Food Research and Action Center.  In this position, she directed nutrition policy and research on the federal child nutrition programs.  Parker served as a member of the IOM Committee on Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools, the committee that drafted the IOM recommendations for competitive food sales.

Soaring Food Prices Causing Global Food Supplies to Drop

Historically high food prices and climate changes are causing the global food supply to dwindle rapidly, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).  In a December press release, the FAO is calling on governments and the international community to execute immediate measures to help poor countries deal with this crisis. 

The FAO reported that its food price index rose by more than 40 percent this year, with the total cost of food imported by the neediest countries rising 25 percent to $107 million in the past year. Specifically, the wheat prices have risen by $130 per ton or 52 percent since last December.  This week, U.S. wheat futures broke $10 a bushel, the equivalent of $100 a barrel for oil.   Coinciding with the rising cost are severely depleted supplies of cereals, such as wheat and corn.  World wheat stores are at 11 percent, the lowest since 1980. For additional information, please visit Related Links.

Study Finds Link Between Dairy Consumption and Cancer Risk

A study conducted by Australian and British researchers found a link between high consumption levels of dairy products in childhood and the development of colon cancer later in life.  The researchers followed the dietary and health patterns of 5,000 people over 65 years of age.  They found that those who grew up consuming at least 2 cups of dairy products a day were more likely to develop colon cancer later in life.  The National Dairy Council (NDC) plans to review the study further. According to NDC, the findings are inconsistent with the body of science on this subject.  The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) Expert Panel recently concluded that higher milk and calcium intakes may help reduce the risk of colon cancer." Please see Related Links for more information.

Study Looks at Fast Food Outlets and High School

Fast food and other energy-dense food options are readily available to students at restaurants and stores surrounding schools, according to a study published in the June 2008 issue of the journal, Health & Place.  Researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago examined the location of fast food restaurants and convenience stores in relationship to 31,000 secondary schools.  They found that approximately one third of public middle and high schools nationwide are within walking distance of a fast food chain or convenience store.  In the 20 largest cities, significantly more secondary schools are located near these types of food outlets.

The researchers also noted that most students do not ride the school bus, but use alternative means of transportation, such as cars and mass transit.  This increases the amount of unsupervised time students have to eat at convenience stores and fast food restaurants before and after school.  The study authors argue that more needs to be done to improve the food environment both inside and outside of the school.

United Kingdom Bans Snack Food Ads Aimed at Children

Food companies will no longer be able to direct snack food advertisements to children under the age of 16.  This extends a previous ban that prohibited advertising to children under the age of 10.  The ban does not allow food companies to advertise products during specific programs viewed by children. 

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has considered banning or limiting the amount of food advertising directed at children.  The FCC created a task force to examine the relationship between advertising and childhood overweight.  Additionally, many U.S. food companies have voluntarily created their own guidelines for advertising to children.

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

State Policy Index

State and Federal Legislation

State legislation can now be accessed on the Internet through Netscan. Use Username: schoolnutrition and Password: sna

Click State Legislation Instructions for steps to access state legislation through the service. Legislatures currently in session include:  California, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and District of Columbia.


 
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