Tuesday Morning - April 18, 2017

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

Federal Register: Child Nutrition Programs: Income Eligibility Guidelines
Federal Register: Comment Collection Child Nutrition Database 
SNA Comments on “School Lunch Shaming” Stories
Local School Wellness Policy: Guidance and Q&As
Taste Testing and the USDA Foods Available List
Update on USDA’s Business Management Improvement (BMI) Project

State Snapshots

Ohio Passes Food Waste Bill
Louisiana Bill Tightens Up on Competitive Foods
North Carolina Bill Funds Farm to School

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars
FRAC Meals Matter Calls

Cafeteria Chat Corner


Federal Policy

Federal Register: Child Nutrition Programs: Income Eligibility Guidelines

This notice announces the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) annual adjustments to the Income Eligibility Guidelines used to determine eligibility for free and reduced price meals and free milk for the period from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. Annual adjustments are made every year, as required by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, to account for changes in the Consumer Price Index. The guidelines are used by participants in the National School Lunch Program (and Commodity School Program), School Breakfast Program, Special Milk Program for Children, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program. The notice contains a chart displaying the Income Eligibility Guidelines, as well as explanations for how the income calculations were defined and made.

Federal Register: Comment Collection Child Nutrition Database

This collection is the voluntary submission of nutrient data from the child nutrition food industry to update and expand the Child Nutrition (CN) Database in support of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The CN Database is updated annually with brand name or manufactured foods commonly used in school food service. The paper form (FNS-710, CN Database Qualification Report) and online web tool were revised to add two nutrients, vitamin D and potassium, and to remove an obsolete ingredient list. The form was also edited to update terminology and instructions. The new spreadsheet version was developed to facilitate submission of bulk data. The burden should not be affected by these changes. Comments on this voluntary request for information can be submitted through www.regulations.gov or emailed to Natalie Partridge at natalie.partridge@fns.usda.gov with “CN Database Comments” in the subject line.

SNA Comments on “School Lunch Shaming” Stories

Last week, SNA issued a press release responding to recent national new stories reporting on the “school lunch shaming” of students unable to pay for school meals. “No school nutrition professional wants to see a child go hungry or feel any shame during mealtime - we dedicate our lives to providing access to healthy, balanced meals to all students," said SNA President Becky Domokos-Bays, PhD, RD, SNS. “While we can't speak to every district, overwhelmingly, schools today are working to minimize any stigma associated with free or reduced price meals and remove any barriers for students in need.” News reports in The New York Times, on NPR, NBC and other national outlets, may prompt local media outlets to inquire about local unpaid meal policies. SNA developed sample talking points to assist members in responding to these media inquiries. As a reminder, SFA’s are required to have an unpaid meal policy in place by SY 2017-2018. USDA’s Unpaid Meal Charges Website houses their current resources, including guidance, handbooks, checklists, and a Q&A.

Local School Wellness Policy: Guidance and Q&As

The USDA released a memo outlining local school wellness policy guidance in a Q&A format. Local education agencies (LEA) that participate in the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program are required to implement a local school wellness policy that promotes the health of students and addresses the problem of childhood obesity. Local school wellness policy regulations were finalized on July 29, 2016 by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), and revised LEA policies must be in place by June 30, 2017. The memorandum’s Q&As outline regulations and guidance and are broken up into several categories: general, programs included, food and beverage marketing, triennial assessment, administrative review, public notification, goals, wellness leadership and involvement and technical support. More information about the wellness policy can be found at the USDA FNS’s local school wellness policy resource center.

Taste Testing and the USDA Foods Available List

The USDA Foods Available List is essentially a menu of healthy options that state agencies can order from and distribute through USDA’s various nutrition assistance programs. The USDA sent out an updated list of products that will be available for the current school year. The USDA Foods program is put together by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), the agency that procures the food, and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), the agency that distributes the food. Staff from both agencies use the USDA Test Kitchen to evaluate samples from current and prospective vendors. The USDA Foods team then takes these samples to various conferences, including SNA’s School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIC), to collect feedback from program stakeholders, such as States and school districts. For a more in-depth behind the scene look at the taste testing process, check out this blog post from the USDA’s website. Some new items on the list this year include Pollock fish sticks, butternut squash, high-protein peach yogurt and wild, unsweetened blueberries. Some reformulated items include part skim and lite mozzarella cheese, canned tuna, and sunflower seed butter. The complete list of USDA Foods item available to Child Nutrition Programs in School year 2017-2018 is available on USDA’s website.

Update on USDA’s Business Management Improvement (BMI) Project

Since the Business Management Improvement (BMI) project was initiated in October 2015, a team of stakeholders have been working on a series of workshops and interviews to review the current “As-Is” state and evaluate possible solutions for the future “To-Be” state. The BMI project was initiated in order to improve USDA Foods procurement and delivery processes and the team of stakeholders represents the USDA, Indian Tribal Organizations, State Distributing Agencies and Industry. Throughout 2016 the team examined relationships between supply chain activities and proposed opportunities for change, and a business case and implementation plan are being developed. For updates as the plan goes through approval and more information about the process, visit the BMI webpage.

State Snapshots

Ohio Passes Food Waste Bill

Effective, November 1, 2017, Ohio school districts may now allow a school site to elect to donate food to a nonprofit organization. Food donated may include surplus food from breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner meals served at the campus cafeteria. Schools that donate, and organizations that accept the donated food shall not be held liable for damages.

Louisiana Bill Tightens Up on Competitive Foods

HB 208 brings Louisiana state standards for competitive foods in line with Federal requirements and extends the time of beverage sale restrictions from just before the school day to the start of the day.

North Carolina Bill Funds Farm to School

North Carolina Senator Angela Bryant introduced a bill appropriating funds for the Small Farms to Healthier Schools Initiative on April 5th. The Small Farms to Healthier Schools initiative supports a partnership between school nutrition programs and local farmers.

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars

Learn about hot topics in school nutrition and earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) with SNA’s popular professional development webinars.

Best of #SNIC17 3 of 4: Innovative Menu Planning
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Chef Sharon’s webinar from her action-packed General Session at this year's SNIC will wow you with ways to boost participation through new school meal recipes. She will focus on recipes that highlight ethnic, trendy and popular flavors in the food world right now. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Community Eligibility: Ensuring Successful Implementation and Expansion in the 2017-2018 School Year
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Over 20,000 schools have successfully implemented the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and are now offering breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students. Join this webinar to learn about the many benefits of the provision and participation trends for this school year. Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

FRAC Meals Matter Calls

The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) holds an ongoing series of conference calls to provide assistance on the operations of federal meal programs.

Breakfast Matters Webinar — Back To School
Thursday, May 11, 2017, 3:00 pm EST
The school year is ending, but the planning for the next academic year is already beginning. Get tips and tools for preparing your school district’s food and nutrition service strategies for the 2017–2018 school year. Topics will include forming an unpaid meal policy, making the most of the Community Eligibility Provision, and launching or enhancing your Breakfast After the Bell and afterschool meal programs.


Cafeteria Chat Corner

Countdown to ANC: 81 Days!
In 1993 SNA, or the American School Food Service Association (ASFSA) as it was called back then, held its Annual National Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. That year, instead of its usual big banquet, SNA held an outdoor lobster-fest on the on the grounds of the J.F. Kennedy Library located on the waterfront of the Boston Harbor. This event ended the era of stuffy, crowded convention center banquets and instead set a tradition for an evening of ANC to include something special and unique to the area. This year’s ANC in Atlanta, GA will feature a night out at Ponce City Market on Tuesday, July 11th. Ponce City Market is a mixed-use development that was converted from the historic Sears, Roebuck & Co. building in 2014. It features a gourmet food hall, various shops, and even a rooftop amusement park! Get excited to check it out, and don’t forget to register today to attend ANC 2017!

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National Harbor, MD 20745
servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org  

Tel (301) 686-3100
Fax (301) 686-3115

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