Tuesday Morning - January 10, 2017

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

USDA Releases Memo Outlining Flexibility for Target 2 Sodium Requirements for 2017-18
Alaska Representative Introduces Summer Meals Bills 
Two More Members Added to Agriculture Landing Team
Change in Paid Lunch Price Reporting Procedures
Proposed Rule and Notices Published in Federal Register
Farm to School Census Highlights Growing Number of School Gardens

State Snapshots

2017 State Legislative Year Takes Off

Mark Your Calendars

SNA Webinars
Get a Head Start on Your Equipment Grant Application!
FRAC’s Meals Matter Conference Call

Cafeteria Chat Corner


Federal Policy

USDA Releases Memo Outlining Flexibility for Target 2 Sodium Requirements for 2017-18

On January 6, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a memo, SP 15-2017, to regional and state directors regarding flexibility for the Target 2 sodium requirements for School Year 2017-18. As you may know, Target 2 sodium requirements are scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2017. To help address some challenges with meeting Target 2 reduction, USDA is offering some flexibility. School food authorities (SFAs) are expected to comply, however if SFAs that are working toward compliance, but not fully in compliance will NOT incur fiscal action during administrative reviews.

During the period of flexibility, USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) plans to continue to gather ongoing challenges in order to develop technical assistance. Review the memo SP 15-2017 for further guidance.

Alaska Representative Introduces Summer Meals Bills

U.S. Representative Don Young (R-AK) introduced the first school meals bill of the 115th Congress. HR.203 intends to “improve the efficiency of summer meals.” Text of the bill is not yet available. Representative Young previously introduced the bill, The Summer Meals Act of 2014, which aimed to expand the Summer Meals Program.

Two More Members Added to Agriculture Landing Team

Trump’s landing team for the Department of Agriculture is now comprised of a total of five people. Russell Laird and Stephen Vaden are the two newest additions, joining the team on January 5th. Laird is the former vice president of federal relations at the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, and has held several other top positions in organizations such as the American Trucking Association and Philip Morris International. Vaden is a Yale Law School graduate who works as a government relations associate at the law firm, Jones Day. These two new members join Brian Klippenstein, executive director of Protect the harvest, who has been the original and sole team member since mid-December. Carrie Castille, a former associate commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, joined the team on December 29th, followed a few days later by Lance Kotschwar, chief ethics and compliance officer and vice president for government and industry affairs at the Gavilon Group, a commodity management firm. All five members are volunteers tasked with gathering information from the agency for the incoming administration.

Meanwhile, the long search for a Secretary of Agriculture continues. Speculations abound but no concrete decisions have been made. Most recently, Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) shared that following a meeting with the Vice President-elect Pence, he believes the search is still “fluid.”

Change in Paid Lunch Price Reporting Procedures

New USDA guidance indicates that for the 2016-17 school year, SFAs are expected to report the most frequently charged price for elementary, middle/junior high and high school levels to their state agency. A complete list of prices reported on form FNS-828 should now be submitted to FNS by state agencies. No procedure changes were made to due dates or frequency of reporting. State agencies are asked to distribute this memorandum to their program operators.

Proposed Rule and Notices Published in Federal Register

Three notices regarding school meal program regulations were published in the Federal Register.

12.22.2016 Federal Register: Technical Corrections to Local Wellness Policies Final Rule
USDA FNS published the Local School Wellness Policies final rule in the Federal Register, 81 FR 50151, on July 29, 2016. This federal register notice is redesignating 7 CFR 210.30 and 7 CFR 210.31. This document also makes a technical correction in 7 CFR 210.30(b)(1)(iv) to ensure readers clearly understand where to locate the established hiring standards.

1.5.2016 Federal Register: Requirements for Processing of Donated Foods
This Proposed rule revises and clarifies requirements for the processing of donated foods. The rule would require multi-state processors to enter into national processing agreements to process donated foods into end products, permit processors to substitute commercially purchased beef and pork of U.S. origin and of equal or better quality for donated beef and pork, and would increase oversight of inventories of donated foods at processors. The rule also revises regulatory provisions in plain language, to make them easier to read and understand.

A detailed briefing sheet and a side-by-side comparison to the current rule are provided.

1.5.2016 Federal Register: Proposed Study on Data Collection Process
The general public and public agencies are invited to comment on a proposed record collection for the Evaluation of School Meal Data Collection Process study. The study is intended to provide USDA FNS with an assessment on how schools handle three functions: collect/aggregate data, process or validate data, and transmit data about the school meal programs. The ultimate objective is to understand the likely sources of error within each of these functions at each reporting level. 40 SFAs and 120 schools in four states will be selected to participate. Comments on the efficiency and accuracy of the study may be submitted through www.regulations.gov and are due by March 6, 2017.

1.6.2016 FDA Extends Comment Period on “Healthy” Food Labeling Term
The FDA has extended the deadline to comment on the use of the term “healthy” in food labeling by three months.

Farm to School Census Highlights Growing Number of School Gardens

The second Farm to School Census was conducted in 2015 in order to measure the progress of the Farm to School Program, which was established in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The Census was distributed to over 18,000 public, private, and charter school districts participating in the National School Lunch Program and found that there are more than 7,100 edible schools gardens across the United States. The western region has the most school gardens with 1,730, and California is the state with the most at 1,200. More census results can be found on the Farm to School Census website. The Farm to School Program encourages the cultivation of these edible school gardens, and offer various resources to help schools get started on their own, such as this fact sheet, this toolkit, and this data website, or visit this site for even more resources and guidance on creating your own edible school garden.

State Snapshots

2017 State Legislative Year Takes Off

Already, 19 states have convened for the 2017 legislative year. Two bills were filed in December 2016 to be considered this year. State legislatures move fast so be sure to keep an eye on this space to catch updates on your local school meal policy legislation.

SOUTH CAROLINA
H 3047
Pre-Filed 12/16/2016
Requires schools to offer the same milk and meal choice to free/reduced price eligible students and students paying full price.

S 41
Pre-Filed 12/13/2016
Provides that by SY2018-19 each school district shall provide a nutritional, well-balanced school breakfast and lunch program at no cost to the student. Repeals requirement that a school must have at least 40% free/reduced eligibility to offer breakfast. Repeals assessment of continuation of providing a school meal to a student unable to pay. Repeals state law allowing the State Board of Education to grant a hardship waiver. Schools that lack facilities or equipment to offer a school breakfast and lunch program shall receive the costs necessary from the state.

Mark Your Calendars

SNA Webinars

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

Best of #SNIC17 1 of 3: Fats in Vogue, Wheat Woes, Uh-oh GMOs
Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 2:00 pm EST
Join Dr. Jim Painter for a fresh take on some of the biggest trends in the food industry! In case, you don’t make it to SNIC 2017 be sure to attend this webinar to broaden your perspectives on the latest information and research on fats, the gluten-free movement and the use of GMOs in our foods.
Participation in this webinar is worth 1 SNA CEU.

Best of #SNIC17 2 of 3
Wednesday, February 15, 2017, 2:00 pm EST
More details coming soon!
Participation in this webinar is worth 1 SNA CEU.

Get a Head Start on Your Equipment Grant Application!

The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) will start accepting online applications for Equipment Grants at 11:00 am EST on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, including:

  • Winston Industries Equipment Grant: awards 10 pieces of equipment to one school district
  • Baxter Equipment for Education Grant: awards one mini rotating rack convention oven and a $500 scholarship to the winning school nutrition director

Only the first 50 submitted online applications will be considered for each grant—so be sure to prepare your application as soon as possible!

FRAC’s Meals Matter Conference Call

On Thursday, January 19, 2017, at 1:00 pm EST, the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) will host the conference call, Working with Food Banks. With vast networks and programmatic expertise, food banks can be great partners to work with on expanding the reach of the Afterschool Nutrition Programs. From promotion to sponsoring, food banks have a role to play in ensuring children have access to meals when the school day ends. Hear from food banks and advocates on ways to collaborate this school year on the child nutrition programs.

Cafeteria Chat Corner

Countdown to the Inauguration: 10 Days! 
Fun Facts: The swearing-in ceremony is the only event associated with the Inauguration that is paid for with taxpayer money. Since the balls, parades, and luncheons are not government functions, Presidential Inaugural committees raise money from private donors to pay for those festivities. Just to give you an idea of the cost of an Inauguration, President Obama raised $53 million for the festivities of his first Inaugural event in 2009.
Sneak peek for next week: What did George H.W. Bush say in his letter to Bill Clinton when he left office?

 

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