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Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
SNA Releases 2017 Position Paper
Urges Congress to Protect and Strengthen School Meal Programs
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – The non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) has released its 2017 Position Paper, outlining legislative priorities for the 57,000-member Association. The paper calls on Congress to oppose school meal block grants and bolster school nutrition programs, which offer a vital source of nutrition for more than 30 million students each school day.
SNA, which vigorously opposed last year’s House-proposed school meal block grant pilot, is again taking a firm stand in opposition to any effort to dismantle federal school meal programs. “Any block grant proposal would break our country’s long-standing promise that ensures students do not go hungry during the school day,” said SNA President Becky Domokos-Bays, PhD, RD, SNS. “Fixed-sum block grants for school meals could shut out America’s most vulnerable children, hindering access to free and reduced price meals for eligible families. This decimation of federal programs could financially cripple local school nutrition operations and abolish all federal nutrition standards.”
The Association also called for greater support to preserve the financial sustainability of school meal programs. As Congress prepares to draft a new Farm Bill, SNA requests an expansion of USDA Foods for the School Breakfast Program. “School breakfast is proven to support student achievement and behavior in the classroom, and nutrition programs continue to grapple with the rising costs of preparing these healthy meals,” said Domokos-Bays. “USDA Foods could help cover school breakfast costs while allowing more students to enjoy a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, grown in the USA.”
While SNA supports maintaining robust federal rules to benefit students, the Association continues to advocate for practical flexibility under federal nutrition standards. To help ease menu planning challenges and appeal to diverse student tastes, the paper requests maintaining Target 1 sodium levels and restoring the initial requirement that at least half of grains offered through school meals be whole grain rich. The paper also calls for an independent study of the federal child nutrition programs to identify steps to reduce regulatory and administrative complexities.
SNA’s 2017 Position Paper will be the focus of SNA’s 45th annual Legislative Action Conference (LAC), which runs from April 2-4, 2017 at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC. School nutrition professionals from across the nation will participate in LAC’s “Charge to the Hill,” allowing SNA members to meet with their representatives to discuss school nutrition issues.
About School Nutrition Association:
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing 57,000 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.