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Tuesday Morning - October 7, 2008

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October 7, 2008 

Table of Contents

Action Alert: Support Increased Funding for School Lunch!

Next Week is National School Lunch Week

Congress Approves Continuing Resolution for Food Aid Programs

USDA Listening Session Summaries Coming Soon

USDA Faces Temporary Beef Shortage

ARS Releases Report on Teen Snacking

USDA to Purchase Catfish for Nutrition Assistance Programs

Food Stamps Participation Jumps, Program Renamed

California Passes Menu Labeling Legislation

PCRM Release School Lunch Repot Card

USDA Commodities Webinar on October 15th  

In Every Issue

Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

State Policy Index

State and Federal Legislation

PPL Committee

Action Alert: Support Increased Funding for School Lunch!

At the end of September, two bills were introduced in Congress that will help increase funding and expand participation in the school nutrition programs.  S. 3614, The National Hunger Relief Act of 2008, would require the reimbursement rate to be increased twice a year.  Currently, the reimbursement rate is increased  once a year, in July.  The second bill, H.R. 7085 would require the government to temporarily use the federal poverty line for Alaska for all states and the District of Columbia when determining eligibility for programs. 

SNA strongly encourages all members to contact their Senators and Members of Congress, urging them to support both pieces of legislation.  Please visit the Legislative Action Center for an Action Alert you can send to Congress.

Next Week is National School Lunch Week

The 2008 Vote for School Lunch Campaign is heading into the final days.  Next week, students across the nation will head to the polls, electing the President of School Lunch.  Who will prevail?  Will it be Pete Pizza, Larry Lasagna, Petunia Pita Pocket, Biff Burger, or Gloria Grilled Cheese? Larry Lasagna narrowly edged Gloria Grilled Cheese in early polling at SNA Headquarters.  The latest national Tuesday Morning / CN Direct poll indicates that Pete Pizza maintains the lead, but all of the other candidates are gaining ground.  What will be the results in your school?  Will your state swing the election for Petunia Pita Pocket or Biff Burger?  Visit the School Nutrition Professionals site for more information about organizing a Vote event during NSLW.  Also, encourage your students to vote for their favorite lunch at the official Vote for School Lunch web site.

Some school districts will be welcoming special guests during this year’s National School Lunch Week.  The Jefferson County School District in Louisville, Ky. will host Secretary of Agriculture Ed Shafer.  Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Nancy Montanez-Johner will be visiting schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District in Alaska.  Consider inviting your member of Congress, or other local dignitaries to take part in the NSLW festivities.  For more information on planning a cafeteria visit, visit Cafeteria Site Visit 101.

Congress Approves Continuing Resolution for Food Aid Programs

Congress approved a continuing resolution that would keep the food assistance programs, including the school nutrition programs, operating.  Under the continuing resolution, the school nutrition programs would be funded at their fiscal year 2008 levels.  Congress did not approve any of the appropriations bills required to keep the government operating.  As a result, Congress needed to pass a continuing resolution in order to keep programs, such as the child nutrition programs, operating.

USDA Listening Session Summaries Coming Soon

Summaries of the recent USDA Reauthorization listening sessions will be coming soon.  USDA hopes to post summaries of the sessions around the second week of November.

If you were unable to attend the listening sessions, you can still submit comments for the record.  All written comments need to be received by October 15, 2008.  Also, please be sure to send a copy of your remarks to SNA at servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org

For additional information, please visit USDA Reauthorization Listening Sessions.

USDA Faces Temporary Beef Shortage

USDA is facing a temporary shortage in the supply of beef.  According to a memo issued to all state distributing agencies, USDA states that the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has been unable to purchase beef for further processing during the past few weeks.  The cause of this temporary shortage is due to nationwide market shortages and economic conditions.  Several beef suppliers have either ended or altered their relationship with AMS due to these conditions.  AMS is currently implementing several strategies to increase supply.  Please visit the link below for a copy of the letter.

USDA Memo on the Temporary Beef Situation

ARS Releases Report on Teen Snacking

A report by the USDA Agricultural Research Service shows that about 90 percent of teens eat one or more snacks each day.  The report found that snacking did increase consumption of some important food groups, but it also contributed to the intake of extra calories from fat and added sugar.  Of the 4,000 teens surveyed, approximately 43 percent of their day’s total intake of added sugars came from snack foods.  Among the most popular items were soft drinks, fruit drinks, candies, frozen dairy products, and cakes.

Effect of Snacking Frequency on Adolescents’ Dietary Intakes and Meeting National Recommendations

USDA to Purchase Catfish for Nutrition Assistance Programs

USDA has announced that it will purchase up to $5 million in catfish products.  The catfish will be donated to the child nutrition programs and other domestic nutrition assistance programs. The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases a variety of high-quality food products each year for distribution by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) for the national school lunch program, the school breakfast program, the summer food service program, the food distribution program on Indian reservations, the nutrition program for the elderly, the commodity supplemental food program and the emergency food assistance program. USDA also makes emergency purchases of commodities for distribution to victims of natural disasters.

Food Stamps Participation Jumps, Program Renamed

Food stamps enrollment jumped by almost 1 million people in the second quarter, according to figures released today by the USDA.  Rising economic trouble, the early summer floods in the Midwest, and improved outreach contributed to the rise in participation.

Effective October 1, 2008, the Food Stamps program has been officially renamed to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  The new name reflects the changes made to meet the needs of program participants.  While the name of the program has changed, the program itself has not changed.  For more information about the change, please visit the link below.

Nearly 1 Million People Enroll in Federal Food Stamp Programs

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

California Passes Menu Labeling Legislation

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signed legislation last week requiring all restaurant chains with 20 or more locations to post nutrition information by 2011.  California is the first state to pass such a law.  Many individual cities, including New York, Seattle, and San Francisco already have such legislation in place.  Schools are exempt under the California legislation. 

Nationally, there has been a push in recent months to require restaurants to include nutritional information on menus.  At the end of September, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced the Labeling Education and Nutrition (LEAN) Act.  This legislation is very similar to the California law.  Schools would also be exempt under this legislation.

Calif. Requires Menus to Detail Nutrition

PCRM Release School Lunch Repot Card

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) released their 2008 School Lunch Report Card last week. According to their press release, the report "reveals that school districts in Florida, Nebraska, Virginia, and elsewhere have found cost-effective ways to improve the healthfulness of school lunches." The non-profit organization which promotes an animal rights agenda, "grades" school districts on their offering of vegetarian and vegan meals. The report has generated very little media attention to date. For the 2008 School Lunch Report Card, PCRM dietitians analyzed the elementary school meals available at 20 districts participating in the National School Lunch Program. Seventy-five percent of schools evaluated in PCRM’s report serve at least one healthful vegetarian entrée every day.

2008 PCRM School Lunch Report Card

USDA Commodities Webinar on October 15th

The Food Distribution Division of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, in partnership with the National Food Service Management Institute, will be holding a webinar on USDA commodity foods on October 15, 2008, during National School Lunch Week. The webinar will discuss  both the benefits of and improvements made to USDA commodities.  Several school nutrition professionals, including several SNA members, will discuss their experiences with commodity foods and how they implement them into their school nutrition programs.  To register for the webinar, please visit the link below.

NFSMI Presents: USDA Foods, America’s Finest

 
SNA Legislative Action Center
Legislative Toolkit
PR Toolkit
Educate Your Community
State Policy Index
State and Federal Legislation
PPL Committee 

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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