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Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
School Nutrition Association Submits Comments on Proposed Competitive Food Regulations
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD (March 25, 2013) – School Nutrition Association (SNA), a national nonprofit representing 55,000 school foodservice professionals across the country, has submitted comments in response to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed regulations to establish nutrition standards for “competitive” foods and beverages. SNA’s comments are available by clicking here.
The proposed regulations govern items sold in school a la carte lines, vending machines and snack bars during the school day, excluding food brought from home, served in classroom parties, sold through occasional fundraisers, or at after school events.
To protect nutritional integrity and minimize unnecessary complexity, SNA’s recommended changes to the proposal are designed to bring the competitive food regulations in line with new nutrition standards for school meals.
“Under the new nutrition standards for school meals, schools have been switching to whole grains and leaner proteins and limiting unhealthy fat and calories,” said SNA President Sandra Ford, SNS. “Competitive foods sold in schools should meet the same healthy standards as school meals.”
SNA recommends that the new standards mirror the meal pattern standards so schools are not forced to evaluate food choices based on two different sets of complicated standards.
SNA’s comments were developed by a representative task force with extensive input from SNA members. The deadline for the public comment period is April 9, 2013.
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. To find out more about today’s school meals, visit www.TrayTalk.org.
School Nutrition Association Endorses the Bipartisan School Nutrition Flexibility Act
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD (March 21, 2013) – The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has endorsed H.R. 1303, the School Nutrition Flexibility Act, bipartisan legislation introduced yesterday by Representatives Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH). H.R. 1303 would permanently eliminate weekly maximums on grains and proteins served with school meals.
Under the new nutrition standards for school meals, implemented in July 2012, weekly grain and protein limits have restricted school cafeterias from offering a variety of healthy menu items. Schools could not offer daily sandwich choices because serving two slices of whole-grain bread each day exceeds weekly grain limits. Meanwhile, salads topped with grilled chicken and low fat cheese could exceed weekly protein limits. Some schools have even had to take scratch-prepared soups off the menu because small amount of chicken or noodles in the recipes exceeded weekly limits.
H.R. 1303 would eliminate weekly grain and protein maximums, but protect all other nutrition standards, including calorie limits and requirements that school cafeterias switch to whole grains and serve a wider variety of fruits and vegetables.
“The School Nutrition Flexibility Act will ensure students continue to receive well-balanced and right-sized school meals, but the legislation gives school cafeterias the flexibility they need to plan healthy menus that appeal to students” said School Nutrition Association President Sandra Ford, SNS. “School nutrition professionals appreciate the leadership of Representatives Stivers and Fudge.”
H.R. 1303 would also amend Section 205 of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, to ensure that well-managed school meal programs that are financially solvent will be allowed to set their own meal prices.
Both the grain/protein maximums and meal price requirements were featured on SNA’s 2013 Legislative Issue Paper, and key discussion points for SNA’s “Charge to the Hill” during the Association’s 41st Legislative Action Conference earlier this month.
SNA has also endorsed S. 427 and H.R. 1244, the Sensible School Lunch Act, which would also eliminate grain/protein maximums.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
School Nutrition Professionals Discuss New Nutrition Standards and Assess Challenges at SNA’s Legislative Action Conference
Washington, D.C., March 3, 2013 – Approximately 1,000 school nutrition professionals from across the nation have gathered in Washington, D.C. for School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) 41st annual Legislative Action Conference (LAC).
LAC comes at a critical time as school nutrition professionals continue to implement new nutrition standards for school meals and discuss recently proposed standards for “competitive foods,” which are sold in school a la carte lines, snack bars and vending machines.
The conference features discussions on these topics and a “Charge to the Hill” on Tuesday, when attendees head to the US Capitol to urge their members of Congress to protect school meal programs, which serve nearly 32 million students each school day.
“Charge to the Hill” participants will also discuss priorities outlined in SNA’s 2013 Legislative Issue Paper, including the Association’s support for S. 427, The Sensible School Lunch Act, introduced by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) to permanently eliminate weekly limits on grains and proteins served with school meals.
As part of the new nutrition standards for school meals, these limits prevent school cafeterias from offering healthy options like daily sandwiches (too much grain), a small side of peanut butter with celery sticks or low and non-fat cheese or yogurt on the salad bar (too much protein).
By permanently eliminating weekly grain and protein limits while maintaining calorie limits and whole grain requirements, USDA can protect the nutritional integrity of the school meal standards while giving cafeterias more flexibility to design healthy menus that meet both the standards and student tastes.
School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) 41st annual Legislative Action Conference (LAC) runs through March 6, 2013 at the JW Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Other key events include:
Media wishing to attend these events must contact Diane Pratt-Heavner at 703-576-7526 to register for the conference. To receive a complimentary media registration, members of the press must meet the published Guidelines on Press Registration at School Nutrition Association Meetings.
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. To find out more about today’s school meals, visit www.TrayTalk.org.
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