SNA Does Not Support Proposed Nutrition Standards Amendment
November 9, 2007 -- The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has long held the position that nutrition standards should be in place for all foods and beverages sold throughout the school day and throughout the school campus environment. While school nutrition programs continue to provide nutritious school meals in the cafeteria and increasingly follow local and state nutrition standards for a la carte foods; the need remains for uniform, federal nutrition standards for all school food that are both enforced and science-based.
The specific amendment to be proposed by Senator Harkin (D-IA) as part of the 2007 Farm Bill would overturn the current time and place rule…a long-time SNA goal…. however SNA has key concerns with the current nutrition standards amendment. As such, SNA does not support the Harkin Nutrition Standards Amendment in its current form.
In a letter to Senator Harkin, SNA President Mary Hill outlined the three main reasons why SNA does not support this legislation:
- SNA supports a uniform national nutrition standard. Whatever nutrients children need for good health in Iowa is what they need in Georgia. The amendment, with all of its exceptions, no longer establishes a uniform national standard.
- SNA has urged a consistent nutrition policy throughout the school. The amendment now allows sports drinks in some areas of the school and not in other areas of the school.
- Finally, there would be a cost associated with this complex rule but no funding is provided. Foods allowed as a part of the meal might not be allowed in the a la carte line. Local programs would need to purchase and store multiple food items.
Since 1983, SNA has been working in support of legislation that gives the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to regulate the sale of foods and beverages outside of the cafeteria. SNA commends Senator Harkin for his leadership and for his support of the school nutrition programs and looks forward to working with him and his staff in the future.
School nutrition professionals continue to work tirelessly to promote healthy eating options in schools. Last month SNA released the 2007 Trends Report based on a survey of 200 school districts nationwide conducted in July 2007. The Report provides evidence of the continuing efforts underway in America's schools to promote healthy eating habits among children: a majority of school districts have increased the availability of healthier beverages in vending machines (81%), reduced/limited trans fat content (74%), limited fat content of a la carte/vending items (73%) and increased the availability of fresh fruits/vegetables on a la carte lines and/or in vending machines (69%). Policy deployment is increased for nearly every area from past years, including the percentage of districts with a policy that limits the fat content of a la carte and/or vending items rising to 73% from 38% in 2004.
The SNA Report was echoed by new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2006 School Health Policies and Program Study (SHPPS) released in mid-October. CDC found schools are dramatically increasing the amount of healthy foods offered to students. Nearly 73% of schools offer salad to students, compared to just 53% in 2000, while low fat and non-fat yogurt is increasing in popularity. Schools are also using healthier food preparation techniques. The SHPPS survey found that only 18% of districts offer deep fried potatoes and a strong majority serve lean meats.
Please see Related Links for a copy of the letter sent to Senator Harkin.