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Tuesday Morning May 20, 2008

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May 20, 2008

 

Table of Contents

Action Alert: Food Prices Impacting School Meals
Farm Bill Passes Both House and Senate in Veto-Proof Votes
Reminder: USDA Announces Reauthorization Listening Sessions
SNA Introduces The Daily Mix
Senate Education Committee Holds Hearing on Food Allergies
Reminder: Apply for the Victory Against Hunger Awards!
High Fructose Corn Syrup and Schools
School Food Safety Policy Resource Released
Campaign to End Obesity Releases Policy Recommendations

 

In Every Issue

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

Action Alert: Food Prices Impacting School Meals

alerttwoDue to the increase in food, milk and energy costs, combined with high labor and benefits costs, the federal school meal reimbursement no longer covers the cost to prepare a balanced, nutritious school meal. SNA is currently reviewing all legislative options to help address this crisis. You can take action now by emailing your Senators and Member of Congress to share how rising food prices are impacting your school nutrition program.

SNA Headquarters continues to field 3 to 5 press calls a day concerning rising food costs.  Some of the news organizations covering this issue include the Houston Chronicle, the Tampa Tribune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Virginia Pilot, USA Today and CNN Money. Since April 15, 2008, over 12 million households have been reached with key SNA messages on the need for additional funding for school meals through broadcast and print media.  Additional coverage is expected during the next few weeks. Please visit the Legislative Action Center to send a letter to your Member of Congress.

Farm Bill Passes Both House and Senate in Veto-Proof Votes

After months of delays and contentious debate, the Farm Bill finally passed Congress. On Wednesday, May 14th, the House of Representatives voted 318 to 106 to pass the conference committee report of H.R. 2419, The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.  The Senate passed the bill the following day with an 81-15 vote, sending the legislation to the White House.  President Bush has threatened to veto the Farm Bill, claiming that the legislation failed to sufficiently cut spending on subsidies.  Both the Senate and House passed the legislation by wide enough margins to override a potential veto.

The conference committee’s final version of the Farm Bill included several provisions related to the school nutrition programs.  Earlier in the week, SNA, along with several other organizations, signed onto a letter supporting the conference committee’s bill. Debate on the Farm Bill originally began over a year ago.  The House passed it’s version of the bill on July 27, 2007, while the Senate voted on legislation in December 2007.  Please visit Related Links for information about the child-nutrition related sections of the bill.

Reminder: USDA Announces Reauthorization Listening Sessions

In preparation for the 2009 reauthorization of the federal child nutrition programs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced a series of listening sessions around the country.  These listening sessions are a great opportunity for SNA members to voice their thoughts and concerns regarding the school nutrition programs.  USDA staff will use the information gathered during these public meetings to shape policy for the 2009 reauthorization bill. All SNA members are strongly encouraged to attend. SNA is currently drafting testimony that highlights the Association’s reauthorization priorities. 

Please note that all dates and locations, except June 10, 2008, are tentative.  SNA is in contact with USDA and will continue to post more information as it becomes available.  SNA has also posted a PowerPoint presentation detailing the Association’s reauthorization priorities.  Please visit the 2009 Child Nutrition Reauthorization page for more details.

  • Northeast Region – June 10 – Boston (confirmed)
  • Southwest Region – July 15 – San Antonio or Austin
  • West Region – Aug 6 – San Francisco
  • Mid-Atlantic Region – Aug 6 – Baltimore
  • Southeast Region – Aug 26, 27 or 28 – Atlanta
  • Midwest Region – Week of Sept 8 – Chicago
  • Mountain Plains Region – Sept 9 or 11 – Denver

If you are interested in attending the Boston listening session, please fill out the RSVP form included in Related Links before May 30, 2008.  Space is limited, so be sure respond soon.

Reauthorization Listening Session RSVP (pdf)

SNA Introduces The Daily Mix

Starting this week,SNA members will begin receiving a new email publication in their inbox every day.  The Daily Mix is a daily news briefing prepared exclusively for SNA members.  In each edition, news articles regarding a variety of topics in school nutrition are complied from publications from across the country.  This new news briefing will allow subscribers to stay at the top of their field by becoming aware of innovations and issues affecting school nutrition professionals around the nation. If you do not already receive this publication and would like to sign up, please email asteines@schoolnutrition.org.

Senate Education Committee Holds Hearing on Food Allergies

The Children and Families subcommittee of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing last week examining the challenges in addressing children with food allergies.  Witnesses included the director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases and Allergies, a professor of pediatrics, a member of the National Association of School Nurses and two parents.  In their testimony, the witnesses discussed the need for greater awareness about food allergies by both school professionals and the public at large.  Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), the subcommittee chairman, introduced legislation (S. 1232) last year that would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop and make available a policy to manage the risk of food allergy and anaphylaxis in schools.  School districts and childcare centers would not be required to implement the policy, but they are encouraged to voluntarily adopt it.   The House of Representatives recently passed similar legislation. For more information, please visit Related Links.

Reminder: Apply for the Victory Against Hunger Awards!

f2sThe Congressional Hunger Center and Victory Wholesale Group are seeking nominations for the 2008 Victory Against Hunger Awards (VAH).  This year, the VAH Awards will recognize 25 organizations that are building innovative “farm to school” programs with $1,000 grants.  Nominees can include schools, anti-hunger and community food security advocacy groups, food banks, and other active organizations.

A panel of experts will review this year’s nominees, selecting winners based on their success in fighting hunger by incorporating locally grown, farm fresh foods into their school nutrition programs.  These programs connect farms with local school districts, providing students with fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, and dairy products.  Farm to school programs also provide students with hands on nutrition education, allowing children to visit farms and start school gardens.

High Fructose Corn Syrup and Schools

In early May, SNA held a free web-based seminar (“webinar”) clarifying the issues surrounding High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). The presentation brought together several experts to look at consumer, nutrition, and food science perspectives. If you were unable to make the webinar, you can view the recorded conference through Related Links. In related news, a diary serving Southern California schools recently announced they will be offering flavored milk that is free of high-fructose corn syrup, according to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports. Over 100 school districts are served by Driftwood Dairy throughout Southern California. By switching from corn syrup to naturally evaporated cane sugar as a sweetener in flavored milk, the amount of sugar in the product is expected to be reduced from 25 grams to 20 grams per serving. Dr. Adam Drewnowski, director of the Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Washington, suggests that the sweetener is not directly linked to obesity prevalence, consistent with the presentations made through the SNA webinar previously.

School Food Safety Policy Resource Released

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) recently released the new publication:  Eating Safely at School:  What Education Policymakers Need to Know and Do to Prevent and Respond to Food-Related Illness in School. Eating Safely at School describes the need for school board policy to guide, support and establish accountability for appropriate and effective food safety practices. It spells out the components of a comprehensive food safety policy, provides valuable information sources, includes sample policy language, and features a removable "School Food Safety Policy Checklist" that can be duplicated for use by a team to assess a district or school's policy status. The complete publication in PDF format is available for download through Related Links.  This new resource complements the Food-Safe Schools Action Guide, a resource developed by the National Coalition for Food-Safe Schools (www.FoodSafeSchools.org.

Campaign to End Obesity Releases Policy Recommendations

The Campaign to End Obesity, a coalition of multiple health related organizations, recently released a report detailing ways that Congress can enact legislation to prevent obesity.  The report, A Call to Action, focused mostly on policies to encourage physical activity.  The Campaign did recommend that Congress enact national nutrition standards for school meals.  The report also listed strengthening local school wellness policies and investing in fruit and vegetable programs as top priorities. For additional information on the report, please visit Related Links.

 

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:  Alabama, Arizona, California, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and District of Columbia.

2007 - 2008 Public Policy and Legislative Committee Contacts

Craig Weidel

PPL Committee Chair

clweidel@mpsaz.org

Cindy Brooks

Northeast Region

CBrooks@seymourschools.org

Sara Gasiorowski

Mideast Region

Sara.Gasiorowski@wayne.k12.in.us

Annette Bomar Hopgood

Southeast Region

awhopgood@bellsouth.net

Cindy Hormel

Midwest Region

chormel@liberty.k12.mo.us

Melanie Konarik

Southwest Region

melaniek@springisd.org  

Lyman Graham,

West Region

lyman.graham@carlsbad.k12.nm.us

Lincoln Pierce

Northwest Region

lpierce@bethelsd.org

School Nutrition Association

Child Nutrition and Policy Center

epeterson@schoolnutrition.org 

 


 
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