Tuesday Morning - May 10, 2022

1 big thing: SNA affiliates urge Congress to extend waivers (help us by tweeting your legislators!)

What’s new: Forty eight School Nutrition Association state affiliates have joined together to send a letter to Congress urging strong support for the Support Kids Not Red Tape Act (S. 3979) and the Keeping School Meals Flexible Act (H.R. 6613), legislation that would extend critical pandemic-related school nutrition waivers

Go deeper: Congress has renewed deliberations on the extension of school nutrition program waivers as part of a supplemental appropriations package that includes $10 billion or more in pandemic funding and $33 billion in aid for Ukraine. Congressional leaders are considering a vote early this week. “I believe strongly that we need to get a vote on... COVID help for our children, for summer feeding programs and the school year,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). 

What’s next: Help build momentum by tweeting your legislators to let them know this is important to you. Use SNA’s Action Network to send your tweet now. 

2. Biden announces Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health

What’s new: President Biden has announced that the White House will host a Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health in September.  

Why it matters: The first, and only, conference of this kind was convened by President Nixon in 1969 and it influenced the food policy agenda leading to the expansion of federal nutrition programs such as SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), school meals, and authorization of the Special Supplemental Feeding Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which continue to serve struggling households across the country.  

Big picture: The goal is to end hunger, increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030.  

What’s next: The White House will be hosting listening sessions throughout the summer, leading up to the conference. For more information, please visit the White House website

3. Federal Register updates

Letter to USDA

✔️USDA Responds to SNA’s School Breakfast Program Comment Letter 

What’s new: The USDA has issued a response to SNA’s comments regarding a revision to the School Breakfast Program’s currently approved information collection.   

Why it matters: USDA upheld SNA’s recommendation to consider the methods described in the Child Nutrition Reporting Burden Analysis Study. While they acknowledge SNA’s concerns about the decrease in the School Breakfast Program participation, FNS indicated that they have published ideas and best practices on their website to help promote the School Breakfast Program.  

 ✔️USDA Produce Safety University Information Collection 

What’s new: USDA is collecting course nominations from child nutrition professionals and State agency staff to attend Produce Safety University (PSU).

  • State agencies may nominate individuals to attend PSU and receive annual logistic information through a letter from FNS.

  • USDA is also collecting program evaluations to assess knowledge and experience levels, and course efficacy.

  • Written comments must be received before July 2, 2022.  

 Go deeper: View the Federal Register notice for more information.

 

4. Congressional Research Service reports

Congressional Research Service

What’s new: The Congressional Research Service (CRS) recently published two reports on school nutrition programs. 

  • School Meals and Other Child Nutrition Programs: Background and Funding provides an overview of school nutrition program funding and provides details on each program, including how the programs are administered at the federal, state and local levels, eligibility rules, program requirements and recent policy changes. The report also discusses emergency funding and participation levels during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR): An Overview provides a summary of Congress’ process of making changes to the permanent statutes that authorize child nutrition programs, including the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 and the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the most recent authorization.  

5. State legislative update

Map of US

🔎Let’s look at the latest state updates…

Colorado State Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez has introduced legislation to create the Healthy School Meals for All program. This bill would reimburse participating School Food Authorities for free meals provided to students who are not eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the federal school meals programs.

  • This measure will only take effect if it is approved by voters in the November 2022 General election. 

  • The House Committee on Appropriations has referred this bill, unamended, to the House Committee of the Whole. 

New York State Representative Chantel Jackson introduced the "Making Equitable and Alternative Lunches (MEAL) Act". This bill would require public schools to offer plant-based, halal and kosher food options.

  • A student or person in a parental relation to the student would have the option to select an alternative meal or snack at the beginning of the school year and two additional times during the school year, as determined by such public school district.

  • This measure has been referred to the Committee on Education. 

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