SNA News Releases

FSIS Launches Electronic Label Submission Approval System

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recently launched a new web-based label approval system that streamlines the agency’s review process for meat, poultry, and egg product labels. The Label Submission Approval System (LSAS) will make it possible for food manufacturers to submit label applications electronically, will flag application submission errors that could delay the approval process, and will allow users to track the progress of their submission.

The LSAS is a “secure” web-based software application that integrates and implements an electronic label application process for establishments to submit label applications and appeals. FSIS states that the benefits of the system include:

  • The ability to submit label applications, appeals, and supporting information electronically via the Internet;
  • • Alerts that will notify users of errors in label applications at the time of submittal;
  • The ability for establishments to track the status of label applications or appeals electronically;
  • Enhanced communication mechanisms, such as messaging within LSAS, which will allow LPDD to communicate problems with labels immediately and permit the submitter to correct the issues and resubmit the labels more expeditiously;
  • The ability for establishments to obtain prior approvals as well as information from label application forms, such as ingredients, processes, special claims, and other specific label related information, from an electronic database; and
  • An option, called the Generic Label Advisor (GLA), to assist an establishment in determining if a label can be generically approved.
For more info, a user guide for industry, instructions for accessing the system, and FAQ’s, here is an OFW Memo and a Press Release from USDA.

Weight of the Nation Series, Featuring School Meals, to Premiere This Week

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(May 11, 2012) This week, HBO will launch the Weight of the Nation series, part of a broad public health campaign and partnership between HBO, the Institute of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and others.

The four part series premieres on HBO, and will stream free of charge on, starting Monday, May 14.  The “Children in Crisis” episode, featuring school meals, airs Tuesday, May 15 at 8:00pm Eastern.  For complete show times and more information, visit   HBO is heavily promoting the series through social media and has sent 40,000 screening kits to community groups throughout the country.

While the project has sparked an important dialogue about the challenge of childhood obesity and opportunities for schools to contribute to the solution, the “Children in Crisis” episode features a misleading portrayal of the state of school meals in America.  School Nutrition Association contacted HBO to express concerns and share facts about the healthy choices available in school cafeterias.  Click here to read SNA’s letter.

SNA members are encouraged to help provide a fair and balanced representation of school nutrition programs by sharing the good news about school meals.  Now is a great time to contact parents, teachers and community members to tell them about the healthy changes in America’s school cafeterias.  

SNA has a number of resources to assist members in promoting their programs.  First, enter your member login information at the top left corner of our website, and then click on the following links for community outreach ideas, and talking points on healthy school meals, new nutrition standards and the HBO series specifically.  SNA has also provided a sample letter to parents on how school meals will meet new standards this fall.  

A complete New Meal Pattern PR Toolkit is coming soon to help members promote their programs at back-to-school time – a critical time as HBO will air a separate series this fall titled the Weight of the Nation “for Kids.”  Although HBO is not heavily promoting this second series at this time, they will air the first episode, “The Great Cafeteria Takeover” on Wednesday, May 16 at 7:00pm Eastern.  This half hour episode features a group of students in New Orleans who “are determined to bring healthier (and tastier) options to their district’s school cafeterias.”  SNA will provide information about this follow-up series as it becomes available.


USDA Revises Q & A on Meal Pattern

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On April 27, 2012, USDA provided a revised memo entitled: Questions & Answers on the Final Rule, “Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.” This guidance addresses the final rule overall, and includes questions on general and specific aspects of the new meal requirements. USDA plans to revise this document periodically to issue additional Questions & Answers as they arise during the implementation of the new meal requirements.

Click here for the most current memo.

This memo is also posted on, SNA’s one-stop shop for materials and news relating to the release of USDA’s School Meal Pattern

SNA Unveils New Strategic Plan

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May 4, 2012 – At last month’s annual National Leadership Conference in Louisville, Ky., SNA released a new strategic plan designed to direct leadership and management in prioritizing projects and initiatives in the coming years.

“Strategic planning is an important step that allows us to refocus and reenergize,” notes SNA President Helen Phillips, SNS. “School nutrition is at a crossroads of many changes and challenges, from new regulations to a renewed media/parent scrutiny. In working together to identify the issues we face today—and expect to face tomorrow—SNA’s leadership has helped to ensure that we are setting the right course for long-term success.”

In times of rapid and ongoing change, organizations can struggle to continually adjust to fight this particular fire or seize that specific opportunity. That’s why strategic planning is so important. A three-to-five-year strategic plan provides a framework for an organization’s leadership to act thoughtfully, productively and efficiently in its work on a weekly, monthly and long-term basis. A special Strategic Planning Committee, composed of the SNA Board of Directors, appointed at-large members and the headquarters’ senior staff, came together in mid-December for a three-day meeting to lay a strategic foundation for the Association’s future.

In preparation, SNA compiled recent member satisfaction research and conducted a new survey to complement the existing information. Together, the rich data that resulted was most informative in helping the Committee to establish the top priorities among the opportunities and challenges that were identified.

SNA’s new strategic plan is organized around five “strategic pillars”:

  • Education and Professional Development
  • Public Image
  • Advocacy
  • Community
  • Membership

Each pillar features a definition, as well as 4-8 specific outcomes to help direct the Association in developing future projects and initiatives.

In addition to developing the new Strategic Plan, SNA leaders revised the organization’s vision, mission and values statements, as follows:

  • Vision: Well-nourished students prepared for success.
  • Mission: Educating and empowering members to provide healthy meals to foster an environment where children achieve overall wellness and lifelong success.
  • Values:
    *Collaboration, Relationship Building and Teamwork
    *Compassionate, Caring, Commitment and Service
    *Lifelong Wellness and Healthy Lifestyles
    *Passion for Lifelong Learning and Professional Development

SNA School Nutrition Employee/Manager Representative Mary Betlach served on the Strategic Planning Committee and takes pride in the outcome: “We’re looking at a new future for the Association, with a new vision, mission and values that will connect all members—at every level—to the goals of our strategic pillars. I am looking forward to all the exciting things that will come for SNA.”

You can view the entire strategic plan here. Also, details about each strategic pillar are being presented by SNA CEO Frank DiPasquale in a series of short articles in School Nutrition magazine. The first of these, on the Education and Professional Development pillar, was published in the First Word column in the April 2012 issue.

Related Links:

Strategic Framework Brochure

2012-13 Annual Plan

SNA Provides FAQs on Healthy Edge

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May 4, 2012 – In follow up to the letter posted earlier this week, SNA President Helen Phillips, SNS, and CEO Frank DiPasquale recognize that members may have questions about the future of Healthy Edge and other existing SNA-approved Nutrition Education Core Courses. In response, they have developed the Healthy Edge Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to begin answering some of your questions and concerns.

SNA values the importance of our certification program and the many benefits it provides to school nutrition professionals. We want the process to be seamless and attainable and encourage greater participation by everyone and to that degree we provide the following information to assist with your professional development.

Thank you for all you do to provide quality and nutritious meals to our nation’s children!

SNA Sends Letter to Members Regarding Plans to Update Healthy Edge

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May 2, 2012 – SNA President Helen Phillips, SNS, and CEO Frank DiPasquale have sent a signed letter to SNA members regarding some of the 10-hour Nutrition Core Courses, including Healthy Edge, and the need to update them now that the new meal pattern has been finalized and MyPlate has been launched.

The letter mentions plans for a supplemental training that is currently in development and will be available later this summer. When available, this training, in conjunction with Healthy Edge or other 10-hour Nutrition courses, will meet the Nutrition Core Course requirement.

To read the full letter, click here.

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