Tuesday Morning - September 19, 2017

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

Rep. McGovern & Rep. Davis Introduce Breakfast Commodities Bill
School Nutrition Professionals Recognized in Congress
USDA Economic Research Service Report on Household Food Security in the U.S.
Farm to School Program Reauthorization Bills Introduced in Congress
USDA Offers Guidance to LEAs on Beginning Verification Before October 1

State Snapshots

California’s Child Hunger Prevention and Fair Treatment Act

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars
USDA Foods Webinars
Food Research & Action Center Webinars

Cafeteria Chat Corner


Federal Policy

Rep. McGovern & Rep. Davis Introduce Breakfast Commodities Bill

On Tuesday, September 12, 2017, Congressmen Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) introduced H.R. 3738, or the Healthy Breakfasts Help Kids Learn Act of 2017. The bill provides commodity support for the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and will allow more students to benefit from a nutritious school breakfast while enjoying a wider variety of American-grown foods. Getting commodity support and expanding U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foods to support the SBP was a key priority in SNA's 2017 Position Paper , and SNA worked hard to help bring this bill to fruition. Take action now! Tell your legislator to support this bill! The Healthy Breakfasts Helps Kids Learn Act will provide schools an additional 6 cents in commodity support for every breakfast served, which will help to reduce schools’ food expenditures, manage rising costs, expand breakfast programs and improve menus for students. SNA’s press release further explains how the bipartisan bill will support America’s students and farmers.

School Nutrition Professionals Recognized in Congress

SNA was honored to collaborate with Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Ill) in developing a special recognition for school nutrition professionals, which Rep. Davis delivered in the United States House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 12, 2017. The recognition highlighted all the important work that school nutrition professionals do every school day to ensure that children are eating healthy, balanced meals that enable them to succeed and work their hardest in the classroom. School nutrition staff are a vital part of the education system and you should take special pride in the work you do feeding millions of children and making their lunchroom experience an enjoyable one. SNA, and Congressman Davis on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives, are enormously proud to honor you and recognize your hard work!

USDA Economic Research Service Report on Household Food Security in the U.S.

The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) released a report in September 2017 on Household Food Security in the United States in 2016. The extent and severity of food insecurity is monitored by the USDA through an annual, nationally representative survey conducted by the ERS. The report analyzes the survey and presents its findings, which were summarized. Essentially, the estimated percentage of U.S. households that were food insecure in 2016 (12.3%) was unchanged from 2015 (12.7%) and has continued to trend downward from the high of 14.9% in 2011. More statistics and further analysis of the survey results can be found in the report summary.

Farm to School Program Reauthorization Bills Introduced in Congress

Companions bills were introduced in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate last week regarding the reauthorization of the farm to school program. The bills, entitled the “Farm to School Act of 2017” were introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (R-VT) and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE). The Senate version was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, and the House version was referred to the Education & the Workforce Committee. The Farm to School program works to integrate local foods, such as fruits and vegetables, into child nutrition programs and is administered through FNS’s Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS). More information about the Farm to School program, including a planning toolkit, can be found on the USDA’s website.

USDA Offers Guidance to LEAs on Beginning Verification Before October 1

In a policy notice, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service published a memo to provide guidance to State agencies and local educational agencies (LEAs) on the option to begin verification activities before October 1, 2017. The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA) requires LEAs to verify a sample of approved applications for free and reduced-price meals each school year based on a school’s sample size, as of October 1; but they are also allowed to begin verification once they begin the application approval process. In summary, LEAs are allowed to begin the verification process before October 1, but must decide how often to sample applications, include in each sample pool only applications approved since the last sample was selected and select either 3 percent or 1.5 percent of approved applications, as required by the sampling method, each time. Program operators should direct any questions to their State Agency.

State Snapshots

California’s Child Hunger Prevention and Fair Treatment Act

SB 250, the California Child Hunger Prevention and Fair Treatment Act, passed the House and Senate and was ordered to be enrolled to the governor for signature. The Act requires schools to follow specific steps to identify and notify families with an unpaid school meal balance greater than five meals and to exhaust all options to directly certify the student for free or reduced-price meals. The Act also prohibits schools from taking disciplinary action that results in denying or delaying a meal to a pupil.

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 ANC#17” 1 of 3: Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities
Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 2:00 pm ET
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!
Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 2:00 pm ET
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.

USDA Foods Webinars

An upcoming webinar in the “Demystifying USDA Food Complaints” series hosted by USDA.

Results and Resolutions of USDA Foods in Schools Complaints
1:00 PM ET on Thursday, September 28, 2017
The USDA Foods Complaint Team will present different scenarios as USDA Foods are transported from the vendor to its final destination: school kitchens. The intended audience is Distributing Agencies and Recipient Agencies for USDA Foods in schools, including SDAs as well as schools and warehouses. The USDA Foods Complaint Team’s goals are to provide responsive customer service, investigate and resolve complaints, as well as to provide guidance on how to handle USDA Foods.

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
Thursday, September 21, 2017, 1:00 pm ET
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 in order 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.


Cafeteria Chat Corner

A Look at Agriculture Secretaries of the Past
Edward Madigan served in the United States House of Representatives for almost 20 years before serving as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President George H.W. Bush. Madigan was the first Roman Catholic to be Secretary of Agriculture and served from 1991 to 1993. Madigan was known as a staunch protector of farm interests and worked to improve nutritional education while in office. He died from complications from lung cancer on December 7, 1994 and, in 1995, the Edward R. Madigan State Fish and Wildlife Area in Lincoln, Nebraska was renamed in his honor.

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