SNA Task Force Proposes Nutrition Standard Guiding Principles


SNA Task Force Proposes Nutrition Standard Guiding Principles

November 19, 2007 -- SNA's National School Food and Beverage Standards Task Force released draft guiding principles for national nutrition standards for both reimbursable meals and foods and beverages sold/served outside of reimbursable meals. The draft principles are now available to all sections of SNA membership, as well as the public and allied organizations, in an effort to solicit feedback and commentary on them. The principles are posted as a Related Link.

For more than ten years, SNA has held the position that nutrition standards should be applied to foods and beverage available outside of the reimbursable school meal programs (National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP.)) While nutritious meals are sold within the cafeteria as part of these programs, too often they compete with unregulated foods and beverages outside of the cafeteria. Local wellness policies and the efforts of school nutrition professionals, parents and others have made substantial progress in promoting healthful options throughout the school environment;  however, the need for consistent, uniform, science-based, enforceable nutrition standards for food and beverages sold/served outside of reimbursable meals remains.   

With regard to reimbursable meals, the USDA, as required by federal law, sets nutrition standards in the form of meal pattern requirements consistent with the goals of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. State and local regulations in recent years have veered from this goal setting additional requirements that may not be science-based, therefore creating the need for uniform national nutrition standards for reimbursable meals. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service is currently updating the meal pattern requirements for the NSLP and SBP to reflect the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

SNA Task Force
In spring 2007, SNA's Board of Directors established the SNA National School Food and Beverage Standards Task Force to develop a set of nutrition standard recommendations for both reimbursable meals and food and beverages sold or served outside of reimbursable meals. The Task Force of 10 includes SNA members that are school nutrition directors and state agency directors, as well as SNA industry members and non-members who are academic experts in the nutrition field. The Task Force met for more than 50 hours over the past six months and is chaired by SNA President-Elect Katie Wilson, SNS.

Comments and feedback on the draft principles will be collected this fall culminating in an open discussion on them at the SNA National Nutrition Standards Summit to be held January 12, 2008, prior to the SNA Child Nutrition Industry Conference in Monterey, Calif. The Summit will bring together more than 200 SNA members from several membership sections as well as government and allied organization representatives. Following the Summit all feedback will be compiled and assessed with final principles expected to be approved by the SNA Board of Directors by April 2008. 

The final principles will be shared with USDA and others as well as state regulatory and legislative bodies as the Association's position on nutrition standards.

Comments and feedback on the proposed guidelines should be sent to Task Force Chairwoman Katie Wilson at 

Relationship between SNA Task Force Principles & Harkin Nutrition Standards Amendment

As part of the Farm Bill process, Senator Harkin (D- IA) is expected to offer an amendment on the Senate floor that would set specific nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold outside of the reimbursable meals. SNA does not support the Harkin proposal on nutrition standards because:

  • 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.

It has been SNA’s approach to pursue a dual course of using the Task Force process to determine specific SNA recommendations on standards as well as the legislative route of giving USDA the authority to set standards. SNA will continue on both tracks with the ultimate goal of uniform, science-based, enforceable nutrition standards for competitive foods as well uniformity in the guidelines for reimbursable meals.   

Related Links

Guiding Principles
(in Adobe Acrobat format)

Meal Pattern Recommendations
(in Adobe Acrobat format)

IOM Summary
(in Adobe Acrobat format)


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