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Tuesday Morning - July 1, 2008

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July 1, 2008

 

In This Issue

House Committee to Hold Hearing on Impact of Food Cost on School Nutrition

Food Safety Remains a Top Priority for School Nutrition Programs

Agriculture Appropriations Bill Passes Subcommittee with NAIS Provision

SNA Brings Home the Gold

High Fructose Corn Syrup in the News Again

Summer Feeding Programs Well Under Way

Survey Finds Parents Wary of Child-Directed Advertising

 

In Every Issue

Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

State Policy Index

State and Federal Legislation

PPL Committee

 

House Committee to Hold Hearing on Impact of Food Cost on School Nutrition

capitolThe House Education and Labor Committee will hold a full committee hearing titled "The Rising Cost of Food and It's Impact on the School Nutrition Programs." The hearing will be held on Wednesday, July 9, 2008, at 10:00 AM.  Witnesses will be announced shortly. SNA has been discussing the cost and funding issue with Committee staff since April.

The rising cost of school meals continues to capture headlines throughout the country.  Since April, SNA has tracked an average of 100 news articles a month concerning escalating school meal prices.  Major news organizations, including the Washington Post, ABC News, the Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today, have covered this story. See related links for additional information on the hearing.

Food Safety Remains a Top Priority for School Nutrition Programs

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released another video on Wednesday, June 25, 2008, alleging mistreatment of cows, including several cows too weak to stand, at a New Mexico cattle auction.  The video shows three “downer” cows being sold at the auction.  In an initial press release, HSUS claimed that the cows were sold to a company that processes beef for the National School Lunch Program, further arguing that possibly tainted beef was served to school children.  This allegation was also included in a statement released the following day by Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the chair of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations.  In the FY 2009 Agriculture Appropriations bill, DeLauro included a provision requiring all ranches selling cattle to the federal school nutrition programs to participate in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). (See below article.) At the press conference releasing the video, HSUS rescinded the previous claim linking the downer cows to the school nutrition programs, citing lack of evidence.

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) continues to consider the safety of school food as a top priority. This is evident from both the amount and quality of staff training that school districts provide their staff, as well as the school food safety record according to outbreak and incident data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For additional information, please visit Related Links.

Agriculture Appropriations Bill Passes Subcommittee with NAIS Provision

The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations passed the FY 2009 Agriculture Appropriations bill last week.  The legislation was to be considered by the full Appropriations Committee last week, but was tabled indefinitely by committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) following an argument over the order of bills to be considered by the committee.  Congressional Quarterly Today, a Capitol Hill publication, indicated that the legislation would probably not be considered before the end of the 2008 fiscal year.

As reported last week, the legislation that passed the subcommittee includes a provision requiring the National School Lunch Program to only purchase meat from sources participating in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).  The provision was included in the version introduced by Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).  Currently, there is mixed opinion on the legislation from the agriculture community.  Some small farmers, ranchers, organic producers, and local food system advocates oppose the legislation, insisting that it will place an unnecessary financial burden on small operations.  R-CALF, the Ranchers-Cattleman Action Legal Fund, sent a letter to DeLauro this week, asking that the provision be withdrawn from the bill.  The letter stated that aside from the cost, the provision would do little to prevent disease or stop in humane treatment, as it only tracks where the animal was raised, not the conditions.

 

SNA Brings Home the Gold

coverThe Olympics may be underway halfway around the world in Beijing, China, but right here at home, the School Nutrition Association (SNA) is earning its share of bright and shiny honors.  SNA was named the recipient of several prestigious awards for its flagship publication, School Nutrition, and the 2008 National School Breakfast Week campaign. School Nutrition was honored with two Gold EXCEL awards from the National Society of Association Publications.  Both the magazine and its media kit were recognized for General Excellence. The judges lauded the combination of high-quality writing and design, citing the magazine as "the complete package that has fresh, engaging editorial with the look to match." The 2008 National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) campaign, “Fuel Your Imagination with School Breakfast” was recognized with a 2008 Hermes Creative Award from the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals and a Communicator Award from the International Academy of Visual Arts.  The NSBW campaign was also recognized with a highly prestigious Associations Advance America Award of Excellence from the American Society of Association Executives.  This award recognizes associations that work to advance their communities through innovative and creative projects.  The NSBW campaign is now in the running for a Summit Award, the top recognition for association programs. For more information about these awards, please visit Related Links.

High Fructose Corn Syrup in the News Again

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) remains a hot button issue with the public, the media, and a growing number of non-profit organizations.  Last week the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) released statements on the health effects of HFCS.  AMA's Council on Public Health and Science issued a report stating the health effects of HFCS intake are not well established and there is insufficient evidence to restrict HFCS or other fructose containing sweeteners in the food supply.  Researchers concluded that "it appears unlikely that HFCS contributes more to obesity or other conditions than sucrose" or other added sugars.  AMA recommends "consumers limit the amount of all added caloric sweeteners to no more than 32 grams of sugar daily based on a 2,000 calorie diet in accordance with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans." See related links for links to both reports, additional information on the ruling and to view SNA's archived webinar "High-Fructose Corn Syrup and School Wellness: Science-Based Facts for Healthful School Nutrition Operations."

Summer Feeding Programs Well Under Way

Summer feeding programs are well under way in many cities.  In recent weeks, dozens of local newspapers have run stories on summer feeding programs in communities as diverse as San Diego, Calif., Grand Rapids, Mich., and Lawton, Okla. This summer, all states are able to participate in the Simplified Summer Food Service Program.  The Simplified Summer Food Service Program allows all SFSP sponsors to receive the maximum “meals times rates” operating and administrative reimbursements without regard to their actual costs. Sponsors may combine their reimbursements to pay for any allowable cost, whether operating or administrative.  Under these new procedures:

  • Sponsors do not have to report their costs to the State agency, although they must maintain records for the State agency review,
  • Costs do not have to be categorized as “operational” or “administrative”, and
  • Reimbursement is based on “meals times rates,” without comparison to actual or budgeted costs.

Survey Finds Parents Wary of Child-Directed Advertising

A recent survey of PTA and PTO member mothers by School Family Media (the parent company of PTO Today) looked at how moms feel about advertising aimed at children.  The survey looked at a variety of areas, including food and beverage advertising.  In one question, parents were asked if it was acceptable for food and beverage samples to be given to children if the items met the School Nutrition Association nutrition guidelines.  Approximately 72% responded that it was acceptable.  In contrast, only 22% thought it was acceptable if they did not meet a prescribed set of guidelines.  More than 64% of survey respondents also believed that Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, conducted by the Better Business Bureau, shows that food and beverage companies are committed to curbing advertising towards children. See Related Links to read more.

 

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:  Arizona, California, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, 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 

 

Related Links

House Education and Labor Committee

Food Safety Remains a Top Priority for School Nutrition Programs

SNA Brings Home the Gold

High Fructose Corn Syrup in the News Again

Survey Reveals Moms Wary of Ads Aimed at Kids


 
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