Tuesday Morning - January 31, 2017

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

Voice Your Opinion on SNA Legislative Priorities
USDA Guidance on Paid Lunch Equity 
New Report Questions the Benefits of Cutting Sodium
Register for SNA’s Legislative Action Conference

State Snapshots

Alabama Introduces a Farm to School Bill

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars
FRAC’s Meals Matter Conference Calls

Cafeteria Chat Corner


Federal Policy

Voice Your Opinion on SNA Legislative Priorities

Look for the email in your inbox from January 25th to provide your feedback in a short survey to determine the Association’s top legislative and regulatory positions!

With the results of this member survey as a guide, on February 15-16, SNA’s Public Policy & Legislation Committee (PPL) will meet to draft the Association’s 2017 Position Paper. The Position Paper will serve as the roadmap for SNA's 2017 advocacy efforts. Please respond by Tuesday, February 7th so that the PPL Committee has time to review your response.

We want to hear your voice! As an appreciation of your time, respondents will be entered in a drawing to receive one of two free registrations to LAC 2017! More information on the drawing can be found at the end of the survey.

If you can’t find the email, send an email to advocacy@schoolnutrition.org and the survey can be resent to you.

USDA Guidance on Paid Lunch Equity

Availability of an exemption to the Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) requirement for school food authorities (SFAs) in strong financial standing has been extended through School Year 2017-18. State agencies should exempt an SFA from the PLE requirements at 7CFR210.14(e) if the SFA requesting the exemption has been certified as meeting the meal pattern requirements and can demonstrate that the required increase to paid lunch prices or revenue contributions would cause the SFA to exceed the 3-month operating balance limit. State agencies are asked to distribute the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) memo announcing this update to operators immediately.

New Report Questions the Benefits of Cutting Sodium

A new report published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) calls into question commonly held beliefs regarding salt and its effects on health, and scrutinizes the government’s recommendations on sodium. The report is based on a review of scientific literature and 40 years of government efforts focused on sodium restriction, as well as studies on alternative options for reducing high blood pressure. CEI’s main conclusion is that restricting sodium is not the best way to go about reducing hypertension in the United States and globally. Another key finding is that there is almost universal agreement within scientific research that weight loss, increasing potassium intake, and other dietary factors are more effective in reducing high blood pressure than simply reducing sodium intake. This report comes after the USDA, FDA and other government agencies had set goals for cutting sodium under the Obama Administration. The Competitive Enterprise Institute is a think-tank dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty.

Register for SNA’s Legislative Action Conference

We have a new president and a new Congress. 2017 means many changes in Washington, D.C., which is why you need to make attending SNA’s 45th Legislative Action Conference (LAC) a top priority this spring. Register now and save with the early bird registration rates!

Attending the LAC Pre-Conference Session, Breakout Sessions, General Sessions and Fireside Chat, will bring you up to speed on school meal legislation and regulatory issues and help you to discover new ideas for your program. LAC’s Charge to the Hill puts the power of grassroots advocacy for school nutrition into your hands by giving you the chance to meet with your representatives and share your school nutrition stories. Plus, the LAC is a great opportunity to network and collaborate with other operators.

“Attending LAC in Washington, D.C., [in 2016] was an eye-opening experience for me,” said Patti Brandt, manager of food services at Eyestone Elementary School in Wellington, Colo. “There is so much that goes on behind the scenes of serving school meals. Learning just a small part of policy and procedure gave me a new appreciation for our director’s job.”

“It was a thrill also to meet other ‘lunch ladies’ who are passionate about not only feeding our nation’s kids healthy meals but doing it with love. We can make a difference in their lives. I came away energized and excited about my job.”.

State Snapshots

Alabama Introduces a Farm to School Bill

HB53 was introduced January 23rd and specifies that federal school nutrition funds may be used for the purchase of farm-to-school products. This bill marks the first state trend of 2017. The majority of bills introduced in state legislatures in January encourage the expansion of the farm-to-school program.

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. Participation in each of the following webinars is worth 1 SNA CEU.

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.

5 Ways to Capture the Minds & Taste Buds of Your Students
Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 2:00 pm EST
Join Dayle Hayes from School Meals Rock and Kevin Frank from Detroit (Mich.) Public Schools to learn more about your students and their taste preferences, improve your social savvy and ensure your district is making the most of your USDA Foods dollars.

Best of #SNIC17 2 of 3: Kellogg’s Innovative Solution
Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 2:00 pm EST
Registration and more details coming soon!

Ask the Allergist
Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 2:00 pm EST
Registration and more details coming soon!

FRAC’s Meals Matter Conference Calls

The Food Research & Action Center's (FRAC) Meals Matter conference calls assist school meal operators in expanding their programs.

Engaging Teens in the Summer Nutrition Programs
Thursday, February 2, 2017, 1:00 pm EST
Reaching teens with the Summer Nutrition Programs can be challenging, but not impossible! During the summer, teens can often help promote the program, volunteer at meal service, mentor or lead activities – while at the same time participating themselves. This call will explore strategies and promising practices for drawing more teens to summer meal sites and keeping them engaged all summer long.

New CACFP Meal Standards and the Afterschool Meal Program
Thursday, February 16, 2017, 1:00 pm EST
USDA recently issued rules updating the nutrition standards for meals served through CACFP. Afterschool programs providing meals through CACFP must have the new meal pattern in place by October 1, 2017 – but programs shouldn’t wait until then to start making healthy changes! Join this call to understand and plan for the new meal pattern and identify supporting nutrition enrichment activities to empower families, support staff and engage children.

Cafeteria Chat Corner

Countdown to LAC: 61 days!
On the first official day of LAC, April 2nd, there will be two breakout sessions titled “Industry Exchange.” At these sessions, industry-only members meet to discuss the various issues and topics that affect their organizations. Industry is an important component in school nutrition and agriculture in general.

Speaking of Agriculture...
In 1889 the USDA attained the status of a cabinet department under Grover Cleveland. Cleveland appointed Norman J. Coleman as the first Secretary of Agriculture, and he served for the remaining month of Cleveland’s term. The past six Secretaries of Agriculture were Tom Vilsack under Barack Obama, Ed Schafer, Mike Johanns, and Ann M. Veneman under George W. Bush, and Dan Glickman and Mike Espy under Bill Clinton.

Sneak peek for next week: Who is the current Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture?

   

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