SNA Member Testifies Before Senate Agriculture Committee

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner  

301-686-3124  

media@schoolnutrition.org  

SNA Member Testifies Before Senate Agriculture Committee  

 2015-05-07

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, during a hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee, School Nutrition Association (SNA) member Cindy Jones testified on the need for greater funding and flexibility for schools to provide healthier choices to students in the cafeteria. Mrs. Jones is Business Management Coordinator for School Nutrition Programs at Olathe Public Schools, KS and a leader in SNA’s Kansas affiliate.

Mrs. Jones' school district is in compliance with the new meal standards, offers unlimited fruits and vegetables and is working to better serve at risk students through breakfast in the classroom and summer meal programs. However, Jones testified that "Under the new rules, many students are now bringing meals from home. Our elementary school participation has dropped more than 9%, and at the secondary schools revenue has dropped as many students have stopped purchasing a la carte choices."

Jones estimated the Olathe district will lose over $700,000 in a la carte revenue this year due to new Smart Snacks in School rules and cited the regulations unintended consequences. "Items such as our fresh-to-go salads had to be taken off the menu because the small amounts of meat, cheese and salad dressings did not meet the sodium and fat requirements." Click here to read her complete written testimony, submitted to the Committee.

School Nutrition Association is sharing similar stories with the Committee today, highlighting challenges in school districts in each of the Committee members’ home states:

Our participation at the Secondary level has decreased dramatically over the last two years, yet our costs continue to rise. We find it difficult to find products that meet the requirements AND taste good. (Iowa)

In the area in which I live it is very hard to get good whole wheat or whole grain products. We are a very small school and do not have the luxury of having several suppliers. We do need flexibility on several products we use. (South Dakota)

I struggle daily with the overwhelming waste of fresh fruits and vegetables. Students take them because they have to, then I see whole, untouched items in the compost every day. (Vermont)

We've worked hard to maintain student participation and are fortunate that meal counts have been steady. However, operations costs continue to climb and we're losing supplemental revenue. Our a la carte sales are down about $80,000. (Georgia)

Click here to read a complete list of the stories shared with the Committee. Additional examples of cafeteria challenges can be found here.

School Nutrition Association supports most of the new regulatory requirements, including limits on calories and unhealthy fats, Target 1 sodium limits and mandates to offer more fruits and vegetables and a variety of whole grain foods. SNA is requesting greater funding and flexibility to address the financial consequences of overly restrictive regulations and allow schools to plan more appealing, healthy meals.

About School Nutrition Association:
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing 55,000 school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated to making healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students. For more information on school meals, visit www.SchoolNutrition.org/SchoolMeals.

 

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