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Tuesday Morning - September 16, 2008

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September 16, 2008

 

Table of Contents

SNA Releases Report on Meal Cost and School Nutrition Funding

USDA Holds Reauthorization Listening Sessions in Chicago and Denver

USDA Publishes Finalized Milk Substitute Rule

Report: Fewer Schools Make Soft Drinks Available to Students

Reports Released on USDA Commodities

Webinar Wednesdays:  The Rising Cost of School Meals

ERS Article Explores School Nutrition Challenges

Report Shows School Meals Help Struggling Families

CDC Releases Podcasts on SHPPS Report Data

 

In Every Issue

Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

State Policy Index

State and Federal Legislation

PPL Committee

SNA Releases Report on Meal Cost and School Nutrition Funding

The average cost to prepare a school lunch has increased 10% since the 2007-2008 school year, according to a report published today by the School Nutrition Association (SNA). Results from “Heats On: School Meals Under Financial Pressure” show the average cost rose from $2.63 to $2.90 for schools to prepare a nutritionally balanced school lunch that meets federal nutrition standards. Over the same timeframe, schools received only a 4.3% increase in the federal reimbursement for each free lunch provided to low income students. This funding gap could cost America’s school nutrition programs a potential loss of at least $4.5 million per school day, based on 30 million school lunches provided daily. To prevent a compromise of nutritional integrity, school districts have responded by raising lunch prices to an average of $2.08 up from $1.96 in the 2007-2008 school year. According to the report, 73% of school districts are increasing prices for students. Even with the increases, the cost of a school lunch remains lower than the average cost to prepare a lunch at home

Heats On: Press Release

Heat On: Full Report

USDA Holds Reauthorization Listening Sessions in Chicago and Denver

cnrchicagoThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) held the final two Child Nutrition Reauthorization listening sessions in Chicago, Ill. and Denver, Colo. last week.  Turn out at both listening sessions was high. 

In Chicago, Illinois SNA Past President Paula DeLucca presented remarks on behalf of SNA.  Other SNA members testifying included JoAnne Robinett from Ohio, Paul Baumgartner from Michigan, and Coletta Hines-Newell from Illinois.  Some of the major topics discussed were increasing the reimbursement rates, farm to school programs, simplifying the verification process, national nutrition standards, universal free breakfast and funding for nutrition education.

On September 11th  the final USDA Child Nutrition Reauthorization Listening Session in the series of seven was held at the Colorado  History Museum on September 11, 2008. Colorado SNA past-President Susan Rondinelli spoke on behalf of the School Nutrition Association. Among the topics covered by those at the session were: nutritional value of milk, plant based foods, school gardens, Rice/Soy milk, less processed foods, more home cooking, more fresh fruits and vegetables, more frozen fruits and vegetables, nutrition standards and the need for additional funding. 

On September 15, 2008, Congressiona Quarterly, a daily newspaper covering policy, news and events of interest to members of Congress, publised a story on the upcoming 2009 reauthoirzation. Specifically national nutrition standards and funding were discussed.

It’s not too late to submit comments to USDA.  Written comments will be accepted until Wednesday, October 15, 2008.  For information regarding where to submit your remarks, please visit#160;USDA Reauthorization Listening Sessions.  Also, please be sure to send a copy of your remarks to SNA at  servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org, attention Cathy Schuchart. 

USDA Publishes Finalized Milk Substitute Rule

On September 12, 2008, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published a final rule in the Federal Register that provides detailed nutritional standards for nondairy alternatives to milk in federally subsidized school lunches, breakfasts or after-school snacks.  The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 called for National School Lunch Program guidelines to make certain that children who consume non-dairy beverages due to disabilities or special dietary needs receive important nutrients that are found in milk.  The law also allowed non-disabled students to submit a note from a parent as evidence they need an alternative to fluid milk.   USDA received a total of 107 comments on the proposed rule.  SNA submitted comments to FNS regarding this rule in January of 2007.  The final rule does provide a few changes from the proposed rule. For more information please visit the link below.

SNA Statement on Recently Finalized Milk Substitute Rule 

Report: Fewer Schools Make Soft Drinks Available to Students

Fewer schools are selling soft drinks and other sugary beverages to students, according to a new report released today by the American Beverage Association and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.  The joint report, The School Beverage Guidelines Progress Report 2007-2008 found that soft drinks now represent less than 25 percent of the beverages available to students in schools.  Report findings also noted a 58 percent decrease in the total calories contained in all beverages shipped to schools.

These results echo findings included in recent research by the School Nutrition Association.  According to the 2008 Back-to-School Trends Report, fewer schools are opting to stock soda in student accessible vending machines.  In fact, nearly 75 percent of school districts are increasing the availability of healthier beverages. Over 98 percent of schools have bottled water available for sale, while 81 percent offer 100% juice.  These numbers reflect significant increases over the past five years. 

School Beverage Guidelines Progress Report 2007-2008

Beverage Industry Continues Cutting Calories

Report: Fewer Schools Make Soft Drinks Available to Students

Reports Released on USDA Commodities

On September 10th, 2008, two advocacy groups released reports outlining the progress, challenges and future opportunities of USDA’s commodity program.  The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) released, “Commodity Food and the Nutrition Quality of the National School Lunch Program: Historical Role, Current Operations and Future Potential.”  This report outlines how the commodity program was started and its evolution since inception.  The FRAC report also explains how the program works and identifies key “Nutrition Critical Control Points” (NCCP) where decisions made at the national, state and local level have a significant impact on the nutritional profile of the commodity foods available in the school lunch program. 

The second report, published by California Food Policy Advocates, “The Impact of the Federal Child Nutrition Commodity Program on the Nutritional Quality of Schools Meals in California,” takes a much more critical look at the commodity program and its effect on school meals.  The report compares commodities offered by USDA to commodities actually purchased by school districts. Please see visit these links for more information:

SNA Statement on the Nutritional Value of USDA Commodity Foods

The Federal Child Nutrition Commodity Program – California Food Policy Advocates

Commodity Foods and the Nutritional Quality of the National School Lunch Program: Historical Role, Current Operations, and Future Potential – Food Action and Research Center

Webinar Wednesdays:  The Rising Cost of School Meals

The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) in partnership with Rich Products Corporation will be offering a FREE webinar on Wednesday, October 8, 2008, entitled “Paring Food Costs: Comparing Apples to Apples.” This webinar will delve head-first into the food cost crisis by addressing problems currently faced by school nutrition directors in school districts of all sizes. Participants will listen to three peers engage in a detailed, live dialogue on how they are addressing this issue in each of their districts. The webinar will include data from SNA research on food costs and provide resources for communicating information on the food cost crisis to parents, school officials, and other stakeholders.

For more information on this webinar, including where and how to register, please click here or visit www.schoolnutrition.org/foodcosts. SNA members may earn 1 continuing education unit (CEU) for participating in the webinar. Instructions on how to obtain your CEU can be found by clicking on the URL above.

This webinar is the first in SNF’s new “Wednesday Webinars” series and will be offered at no charge. Stay tuned to www.schoolnutrition.org/webinars for information on upcoming Wednesday Webinars throughout the 2008-2009 school year. 

ERS Article Explores School Nutrition Challenges

The September issue of the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) magazine Amber Waves includes an article on school meals entitled “Balancing Nutrition, Participation and Cost in the National School Lunch Program.” The article explores the challenges associated with rising food and other costs as well as student taste preferences and nutrition guidelines. The article states:

While nationally representative data are not available, several case studies have found that schools can keep their budgets in the black while still serving nutritious lunches. Some have succeeded by reducing costs, and others have raised revenues through increased student participation. And schools have found creative ways to make healthy food appealing to students. Federal nutrition guidelines, meal reimbursement, and commodity donations can help schools meet their objectives, although variation in food prices and nutrition goals present added challenges.

The full article can be accessed through Relate Links.

Balancing Nutrition, Participation and Cost in the National School Lunch Program

Report Shows School Meals Help Struggling Families

California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) recently released a new study examining how school meals can help struggling families during difficult economic times.  As the economy worsens, the study notes, many families will come to rely on the school nutrition programs.  The report argues that several improvements need to be made to the school nutrition programs in order to make them even more accessible to students.  These changes include enrolling more low-income children, ensuring that the reimbursement rate is adequate for providing nutritious meals, and expanding the School Breakfast Program.  The report author argues that the upcoming Child Nutrition Reauthorization provides a great time to address some of these issues.

Recess from Recession: How School Meals Can Do More to Help Struggling Families – California Food Policy Advocates

CDC Releases Podcasts on SHPPS Report Data

The Division of Adolescent and School Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a series of four podcasts discussing select topics from the 2006 School Health Policies and Programs Survey (SHPPS) report.  The topics covered in these podcasts include an overview of the report, physical education and physical activity, healthy eating, and tobacco-prevention use.  To listen to the podcasts, visit the following link:

CDC Podcasts

 

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

State Policy Index

State and Federal Legislation

State legislation can now be accessed on the Internet through Netscan. Use Username: schoolnutrition and Password: sna

Click State Legislation Instructions for steps to access state legislation through the service. Legislatures currently in session include:  California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and District of Columbia.

 


 
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