FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
SNA Urges Congress to Advance Child Nutrition Reauthorization
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – The non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) lauds the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee for crafting bipartisan child nutrition reauthorization legislation and urges Congress to act quickly to advance the bill through the legislative process.
“The School Nutrition Association greatly appreciates the leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee in crafting a bipartisan reauthorization bill that offers practical solutions for school meal programs and the students they serve,” said SNA President Jean Ronnei, SNS.
The legislation, released Monday, contains a critical agreement that preserves strong standards to benefit students while easing regulatory mandates on school meal programs. SNA worked with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the White House and the Senate Agriculture Committee to address challenges including student participation declines, food waste and student cultural taste preferences. (Click here to review SNA’s statement and summary of the agreement.)
Among other key provisions, the bill establishes school equipment grants and loan assistance; and the return to a five year administrative review cycle, freeing up overburdened state agency staff to provide schools greater support and guidance. The bill also eases Paid Lunch Equity mandates, allowing more schools to maintain affordable meal prices for families.
SNA is disappointed the bill does not increase the federal reimbursement rate for school meals to help schools offset the higher cost of meeting new nutrition standards. USDA estimated the rules added $1.2 billion to food and labor costs last year alone. As a result, many schools are financially struggling under the regulations, as indicated by a recent SNA survey.
“SNA continues to review the details of this legislation and will work to identify additional ways to support school nutrition professionals in their efforts to improve school meals and protect the financial viability of meal programs,” said Ronnei.
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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