Tuesday Morning - November 24, 2009



November 24, 2009

Table of Contents

First Lady, Obama Administration Officials Visit Virginia Schools

Secretary of Agriculture Testifies at Senate Hearing on Child Nutrition Programs

Gillibrand Proposes Reimbursement Rate Increase

USDA Report on Food Insecurity Highlights Importance of School Meals Programs

New Research Shows Child Food Allergies on the Rise in the US

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

From the Kitchen to the Congress Reauthorization Blog

State and Federal Legislation

First Lady, Obama Administration Officials Visit Virginia Schools

First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined students for lunch at two schools in the Washington, DC suburbs on November 19. The visits further demonstrate the Obama Administration’s commitment to the federal school nutrition programs, particularly as Congress begins considering Child Nutrition Reauthorization.

The First Lady and Secretary Vilsack visited the Hollin Meadows Elementary School in Fairfax County, Va. Both were on hand to recognize the school as a Healthier US School Challenge Gold Award winner. Mrs. Obama and Secretary Vilsack participated in a roundtable with several school leaders, including Fairfax County School Nutrition Director Penny McConnell, RD, SNS. They also spent some time with students, passing out fruit and visiting the school’s garden.

To read the full article and see photos of the event:

Secretary of Agriculture Testifies at Senate Hearing on Child Nutrition Programs

Child Nutrition Reauthorization was the focus of a Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry hearing held November 17, 2009. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was among those testifying before the Committee.

In her opening statement, Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) reiterated the Committee’s commitment to addressing the high rate of children that suffer from hunger. She also noted the high rates of childhood obesity, remarking that the federal child nutrition programs have an important place in addressing this issue. She discussed her guiding principals for Child Nutrition Reauthorization: increasing access and participation, improving the nutritional quality of meals, and improving the integrity and modernization of the school nutrition programs. Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) also spoke about the importance of the child nutrition programs, noting that the recent school meal pattern recommendations from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) will help improve the nutritional quality of the school nutrition programs.

In his testimony, Secretary Vilsack reaffirmed that child nutrition is a top priority for the USDA and the Obama Administration. He noted the top Administration priorities for child nutrition reauthorization, include:

  • Reducing barriers and increasing access
  • Increasing the nutritional value of meals 
  • Increasing the health of the whole school environment, including competitive foods 
  • Expanding food safety requirements to all places where food is prepared and stored 
  • Strengthening school wellness policy implementation and increasing physical activity.

To read more about the Hearing:

Gillibrand Proposes Reimbursement Rate Increase

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) has proposed increasing the National School Lunch Program reimbursement rate to $3.27. Currently, free school lunches are reimbursed at $2.68. In a press release announcing the proposal, Gillibrand noted that the increased funding would allow school nutrition programs to improve the nutritional quality of their school meals and provide more fruits and vegetables. A member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Gillibrand has taken a strong interest in child nutrition issues.

USDA Report on Food Insecurity Highlights Importance of School Meals Programs

The US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) has released a report showing an increase in the number of families struggling to put food on the table.

The report, available at, states that last year 17 million households, or 14.6 percent, experienced food insecurity, an increase from 13 million homes, or 11.1 percent, in 2007. USDA highlighted the importance of federal nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, in meeting this growing need, and pointed to the findings as evidence for the importance of strengthening the programs during Child Nutrition Reauthorization.

To view the full USDA Release on the Report:

SNA Announces 2009 Election Results

Members of the School Nutrition Association have spoken, casting their ballots in the annual election for the Association’s top leadership positions. Ten new members to the Board of Directors will be installed in July 2010 and four members, representing different SNA regions, will join the Nominating Committee.

SNA congratulates the candidates for their election to the Association’s Board of Directors and Nominating Committee, and thanks all the candidates for their enthusiasm and commitment to serve the national Association.

The winning candidates will be installed in July during the Association's Annual National Conference in Dallas and will serve under the leadership of incoming President Nancy Rice, SNS. To view the complete list of winners, please see the link below.

SNA Announces 2009 Election Results

USA Today Reports on School Food Safety

USA Today’s November 17 article, “Schools in the Dark about Tainted Lunches” reports on failures in the federal government’s system to notify schools about potentially tainted foods supplied to school meals programs. The article is the first part in a series of stories on school lunches.

Through stringent food safety standards on professional training and food preparation procedures, as well as federal advocacy, the School Nutrition Association and its members are focused on protecting the health of America’s school children.

Please visit this link for the full article as well as to read useful talking points.

USA Today Reports on School Food Safety 

New Research Shows Child Food Allergies on the Rise in the US

A recently published study in Pediatrics found that number of children suffering from food allergies is increasing. An analysis of four studies showed an 18 percent increase in reported food allergy among US children using date from 1997 until 2007. Raised awareness and better diagnosis may partially explain the increase in rates of reported food allergies. Researchers note that the data suggests an increase in actual illnesses.

4% of U.S. Children Have Food Allergies, Analysis Finds - Los Angeles Times

State and Federal Legislation (login required)
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, District of Columbia, Federal, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin 


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