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White House and First Lady Express Gratitude to School Nutrition Professionals

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January 27, 2012—In celebration of the release of the final regulation for new nutrition standards for school meals, First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary Tom Vilsack and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives and Assistant White House Chef Sam Kass today emphasized their collective gratitude for the passion and commitment of school nutrition professionals and other advocates for all they have done already in working collaboratively to deliver healthier, more nutritious food to America’s children. The full transcript of these sentiments can be found on the USDA Blog, in an entry by Kass entitled, “Working With Our Partners for a Healthier Future.” Click on the following link to access the page. http://blogs.usda.gov/2012/01/27/working-with-our-partners-for-a-healthier-future/

SNA responds to member comments on the First Lady’s remarks

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A message from School Nutrition Association CEO Frank DiPasquale:

Yesterday, SNA President Helen Phillips and I attended First Lady Michelle Obama’s press event announcing the release of the new meal pattern regulations. The event took place at one of the schools of SNA Past President, Penny McConnell.

Overall it was a terrific day for school nutrition and the children we serve. Secretary Vilsack was a strong advocate for school nutrition professionals and their programs, and the First Lady’s comments were positive as a whole. In fact, she took time to recognize school nutrition programs that are well on their way to meeting the new standards saying, “so many schools across this country have been working so hard to improve the food that they serve to our kids in school. In fact, there are many schools that have been meeting these new standards for years, long before this legislation was passed. Thousands more have made significant improvements, offering their students a whole array of healthy -- and tasty, mind you -- new options.”

Yet, the media focused on a few unfortunate comments, turning the energy and attitude in a very different direction. At SNA headquarters, we have received many emails and phone calls voicing your displeasure with those remarks, and we share these concerns. We have been in contact with both the White House and USDA regarding our concerns.

SNA has also reached out to national reporters about the remarkable work school nutrition professionals are already doing to offer healthier choices in school cafeterias. As a result of these efforts, SNA messages about your tremendous achievements have been featured in numerous national news stories. I encourage you to visit www.schoolnutrition.org/mealpattern to see a sampling of the coverage.

In all of this, however, let’s remember it was a good day for children and SNA. The final regulation responded to many of our concerns and it was a major change from the proposed rule. The new meal pattern will help school nutrition professionals build on current efforts to provide more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy choices in our cafeterias.

For a full transcript of the First Lady’s speech, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/25/remarks-first-lady-school-lunch-standards-announcement.


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