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Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
SNA Joins US Agriculture Sec. Perdue at School Nutrition Roundtable
SAN ANTONIO, TX – School Nutrition Association (SNA) President Gay Anderson, SNS, and CEO, Patricia Montague, CAE, joined US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue at a roundtable discussion on school nutrition issues today. The event, held at Castle Hills Elementary of North East ISD, TX, was attended by federal, state and local officials and numerous school nutrition professionals, including Texas Association for School Nutrition leaders and North East ISD’s Executive Director of School Nutrition, Sharon Glosson, SNS.
After joining second graders for a healthy school lunch, Sec. Perdue heard from roundtable participants about their programs and how USDA’s 2018 final rule on school meal flexibilities has eased school menu planning challenges.
The final rule on whole grain, sodium and milk requirements preserves strong standards to maintain nutritional benefit for students, including Target 1 sodium reductions and limits on calories and fat, which ensure meals do not contribute to childhood obesity. Schools are still required to offer students a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grain options and low fat or fat free milk.
“Updated nutrition standards for school meals have been a tremendous success overall, but a few of the requirements contributed to reduced lunch participation, higher costs and food waste,” said Anderson. “USDA’s school meal flexibilities are helping us manage these challenges and prepare nutritious meals that appeal to diverse student tastes. SNA appreciates Secretary Perdue’s commitment to hearing from school nutrition professionals who work on the frontlines in school cafeterias and his ongoing efforts to ensure school menu planners have the flexibility they need to best serve our students.”
During the roundtable, Sec. Perdue announced that USDA is releasing proposed regulations to provide additional flexibilities for school meal programs.
“SNA is eager to review the proposed changes, discuss them with our members and share their feedback with USDA,” said Anderson. “We are grateful for USDA’s ongoing dialogue with school nutrition professionals and desire to ensure school meal programs operate smoothly to benefit students.”
SNA’s 2020 Position Paper calls on Congress to preserve the final rule and support USDA’s efforts to further streamline overly complex child nutrition programs. In March, school nutrition professionals nationwide will gather in Washington, D.C., to discuss these issues with their Members of Congress as part of SNA’s 48th annual Legislative Action Conference.
About School Nutrition Association:
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 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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