Tuesday Morning - September 12, 2017

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

Acting Deputy Undersecretary of USDA’s FNCS Comments on School Meals
USDA Responds to SNA Regarding Procurement Practices Study
USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion and Food and Nutrition Service Merge
SNA’s Cafeteria Site Visit Resources
New Report on Health Impact Assessment of the CACFP

State Snapshots

California Legislature Classifies Almond Milk as “Milk”
Florida Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights Act

Mark Your Calendars

SNA’s Upcoming Webinars
Food Research and Action Center Webinars

Cafeteria Chat Corner

Federal Policy

Acting Deputy Undersecretary of USDA’s FNCS Comments on School Meals

Brandon Lipps, the Acting Deputy Undersecretary of U.S.Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, wrote a blog post on USDA’s website about school meals and going back to school. In the post, Lipps discusses the vital role school meals play, as well as the benefits of the flexibility regarding whole grains, sodium and flavored milk that the USDA Secretary issued in a proclamation this spring. He also highlights the success of farm to school programs, which provide local, healthy foods and boost local economies, as well as the School Breakfast Program, which has grown rapidly over the years. The Acting Deputy Under secretary goes on to praise school nutrition professionals and comments that the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is looking forward to continued work with them.

USDA Responds to SNA Regarding Procurement Practices Study

Earlier this summer, SNA submitted a comment on the Study of Food Authority (SFA) Procurement Practices. In response, the USDA sent a letter thanking SNA for the thoughtful submission, agreeing that the study will provide important information to guide FNS decision-making with respect to procurement related training, assistance and policies. The letter goes on to state that the FNS shared SNA’s report, Solving the Procurement Puzzle, with the contractor that is working on the study. FNS appreciates SNA’s recommendations regarding the stratification approach and will consider the use of SFA size in addition to the procurement mechanisms used by the SFAs. FNS is also mindful of the burden the study places on respondents and has worked with the contractor to design the data collection to minimize burden.

USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion and Food and Nutrition Service Merge

On September 7, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced his plans to realign and combine several offices within the USDA. Among the changes, the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) and Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will merge in order to better serve the nutritional needs of USDA customers. CNPP develops and promotes dietary guidance that links scientific research to the nutrition needs of consumers; FNS works to end hunger and obesity through 15 Federal nutrition assistance programs, such as the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Incorporating these two departments will allow their work to be more closely integrated and improve administrative efficiencies. This comes as part of Secretary Perdue’s earlier stated goal to make the USDA the most effective, efficient and best-managed department in the federal government.

SNA’s Cafeteria Site Visit Resources

Catch up on SNA’s recent webinar, Host a Legislator Site Visit. Michigan school nutrition advocates guide participants through the pre-planning, planning, implementation and follow-up processes, plus provide tips on avoiding pitfalls and ensuring success. This can’t-miss webinar will help anyone feel confident and prepared to invite their legislator to their school cafeteria for a behind-the-scenes look at the daily operation of a school meal program. These cafeteria site visits are an ideal way to let legislators see for themselves the intricate operations and critical benefits of school meal programs. SNA also offers this newly updated Cafeteria Site Visits 101 printable toolkit.

New Report on Health Impact Assessment of the CACFP

The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation worked together, through their Kids’ Safe and Healthful Food Project, to issue a report titled "Healthier Nutrition Standards Benefit Kids." The report was a health impact assessment of the Child and Adult Care Food Program’s (CACFP) updated rules for meals and snacks. The assessment concluded that some standards, such as increasing the intake of whole grains and vegetables, have a positive overall impact on participants’ health. Providers are encouraged to review the report’s other findings and strategies to provide nutritious meals and snacks while meeting the CACFP standards.

State Snapshots

California Legislature Classifies Almond Milk as “Milk”

California bill, AB 691, classifies almond milk as a milk for the purpose of exclusion from the category of “nonnutritious beverages.” Current law in California prohibits a school from entering into a contract for sale with carbonated beverages, nonnutritious beverages, or nonnutritious food, except under special circumstances. By classifying almond milk as a milk, it is no longer a nonnutritious beverage and may be sold in schools. The bill passed the California House and Senate on September 5th.

Florida Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights Act

HB 129, cited as the Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights Act was introduced September 1st. It requires that each student who requests a meal must receive a USDA reimbursable meal regardless of their ability to pay or status of an unpaid meal balance. Schools are required to follow certain procedures for notifying the parents if a student carries an unpaid balance. The bill also sets specific requirements for the free and reduced application process. 

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars

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

Best of #ANC17 1 of 3: Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities
2:00 pm ET on Wednesday, September 20, 2017  
Register for this webinar for important updates to requirements related to accommodating children with disabilities participating in the School Meal Programs. 
Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs. 

Seafood: It's Time to Catch On!
2:00 pm ET on Wednesday, September 27, 2017  
Join three K-12 Chef/RDNs for one hour of the school of fish as we share the nutritional benefits of seafood, recipe concepts for school meal programs, and how to get the next generation of children eating Gen Z-food. 
Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNA CEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs. 

Food Research & Action Center Webinars

The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) offers the Meals Matter webinar series to assist school nutrition professionals in the operation of their programs.

Weekend Meals, Holidays and Emergency Closures
1:00 pm ET on Wednesday, September 21, 2017  
Serving meals during weekends and holidays ensures access to nutritious meals for the children attending your program during the week and greatly increases the number of meals you can claim for reimbursement to help maintain the financial health of your afterschool program. Join us to learn more about what it would mean for your afterschool program to extend its service into weekends and school holidays. We will also discuss how to address emergency closures, specifically with vendors, meal storage, and participant communication.

Unpaid School Meal Fees
3:00 PM ET on Thursday, September 14, 2017 
Over the summer, school districts were required by USDA to put into effect an official, unpaid meal policy that addresses what happens when a hungry student cannot pay for their school meal. What is included in the various district policies, and how have several states gotten involved? This webinar will explore the recent outcomes of USDA’s unpaid meal policy mandate and share resources for implementing an effective policy that does not harm or shame students.  


Cafeteria Chat Corner

A Look at Agriculture Secretaries of the Past
Clifford Hardin served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1969 to 1971 under President Richard Nixon. Prior to his appointment, he taught Agricultural Economics at Michigan State University, was University of Chicago’s Dean of Agriculture and was Chancellor of the University of Nebraska. During his time as Secretary of Agriculture, Hardin extended the food stamp program and founded the Food and Nutrition Service, a department with which SNA works closely today!

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servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org  

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