SNA News Releases

SNA responds to member comments on the First Lady’s remarks

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A message from School Nutrition Association CEO Frank DiPasquale:

Yesterday, SNA President Helen Phillips and I attended First Lady Michelle Obama’s press event announcing the release of the new meal pattern regulations. The event took place at one of the schools of SNA Past President, Penny McConnell.

Overall it was a terrific day for school nutrition and the children we serve. Secretary Vilsack was a strong advocate for school nutrition professionals and their programs, and the First Lady’s comments were positive as a whole. In fact, she took time to recognize school nutrition programs that are well on their way to meeting the new standards saying, “so many schools across this country have been working so hard to improve the food that they serve to our kids in school. In fact, there are many schools that have been meeting these new standards for years, long before this legislation was passed. Thousands more have made significant improvements, offering their students a whole array of healthy -- and tasty, mind you -- new options.”

Yet, the media focused on a few unfortunate comments, turning the energy and attitude in a very different direction. At SNA headquarters, we have received many emails and phone calls voicing your displeasure with those remarks, and we share these concerns. We have been in contact with both the White House and USDA regarding our concerns.

SNA has also reached out to national reporters about the remarkable work school nutrition professionals are already doing to offer healthier choices in school cafeterias. As a result of these efforts, SNA messages about your tremendous achievements have been featured in numerous national news stories. I encourage you to visit to see a sampling of the coverage.

In all of this, however, let’s remember it was a good day for children and SNA. The final regulation responded to many of our concerns and it was a major change from the proposed rule. The new meal pattern will help school nutrition professionals build on current efforts to provide more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy choices in our cafeterias.

For a full transcript of the First Lady’s speech, visit

USDA Releases New Nutrition Standards Today at Parklawn Elementary School in Virginia

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January 25, 2012 -- First Lady Michelle Obama joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new nutrition standards for school meals. The new rule requires all schools participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs to serve more fruits, vegetables and whole grains with school meals, while limiting sodium and calories. SNA President Helen Phillips, SNS, and SNA Chief Executive Officer Frank DiPasquale attended the event to hear firsthand the announcement of the new standards.

SNA is reviewing the 280 pages of the Final Rule on the Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs and will be providing analysis for members and up-to-date information at: Be sure to check periodically for updates to the site.

First Lady Michelle Obama discusses changes to school meals
SNA President Helen Phillips talks with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Rear Admiral James Barnett., Jr. (Ret.) of Mission Readiness.

SNA Resources on the New Meal Pattern Regulation

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January 25, 2012 -- SNA has launched a one-stop shop for materials and news relating to the release of USDA’s School Meal Pattern Final Regulation. Click on the meal pattern link in the Highlights section for member’s only resources, including: A detailed summary and analysis of USDA’s Final Regulations, SNA’s Meal Pattern Plan of Action, SNA’s Press Release, talking points, archived August webinar on Proposed Meal Patterns, and legislative insight. Be sure and familiarize yourself with the link and check back periodically as we will update the site with more information as it becomes available.

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