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Tuesday Morning - July 6, 2010

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June 29, 2010

*Note -  Due to ANC 2010, Tuesday Morning will not be emailed next week. To access Tuesday Morning, please visit the SNA website.

Table of Contents

Annual National Conference (ANC) Update

The Food Channel to Cover SNA’s ANC

House Education and Labor Committee Holds Hearing on Child Nutrition Reauthorization Legislation

Pass H.R. 5504 Now!

Stricter Standards for Ground Beef in School Lunch and Nutrition Programs Issued

FRAC Releases Report on Summer Feeding Programs

Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Release Report

Apply for a USDA Community Facilities Grant

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

Annual National Conference (ANC) Update

ANC once again promises to be an exciting time of learning and growth. In addition to offering quality education sessions led by an outstanding line-up of school nutrition leaders, this year’s conference will feature a powerful mix of inspirational keynote speakers. SNA’s Cathy Schuchart Staff Vice President, Child Nutrition and Policy and SNA Legislative Counsel Marshall Matz will speak on Monday, July 12th and Tuesday, July 13th during the education sessions. Dr. Janey Thornton, Deputy Undersecretary USDA will speak at the 2nd General Session.

Representatives from USDA are slated to speak about the Healthier US School Challenge, the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative, improving food safety in schools, direct certification and much more.

The Food Channel to Cover SNA’s ANC

This year, School Nutrition Association members have a new way to be a part of all the excitement at SNA’sAnnual National Conference: The Food Channel will be reporting from ANC Dallas. The Food Channel (www.foodchannel.com) is a website providing recipes, food news and reviews, as well as information on food industry trends.

The Food Channel’s ANC coverage will feature daily reports, video interviews, photos and feature stories. Be sure to check back throughout the week as The Food Channel posts new articles on conference events. You can also follow The Food Channel’s ANC coverage on Twitter at http://twitter.com/foodchannel and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/FoodChannel.

Click here to read The Food Channel’s preview story

House Education and Labor Committee Holds Hearing on Child Nutrition Reauthorization Legislation

Last Thursday, the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on H.R. 5504, the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act, the House Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill. Twenty-nine members were in attendance. Testifying before the Committee were:

  • The Honorable Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
  • Tom Colicchio, Chef and Restaurateur
  • Major General Paul D. Monroe, U.S. Army (Ret.), Executive Advisory Council, Mission: Readiness
  • Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas
  • James Weill, President, Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)
  • Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow, Welfare and Family Issues, The Heritage Foundation

In his opening statement, Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) emphasized the need to pass a strong child nutrition reauthorization bill. Miller discussed the importance of the child nutrition programs in combating childhood obesity and instilling healthy eating habits in children. He also noted that passing H.R. 5504 would increase access to healthy school meals to millions of children and increase the reimbursement rate for school meals.

During his testimony, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack spoke “from the heart,” noting that child nutrition reauthorization is an issue of great importance to him. He asked Congress not to delay action on passing the bill and noted that he is prepared to work with the House Education and Labor Committee and Congress to find offsets to finance the bill. Secretary Vilsack emphasized that child nutrition reauthorization is a top priority for the USDA.

The Committee plans to hold a meeting to mark-up the legislation the week of July 12, 2010. If passed out of the House Education and Labor Committee, the bill will then move onto the full House of Representatives for consideration.

For complete testimony and to watch the hearing webcast, please visit the link below.

http://edlabor.house.gov/hearings/2010/07/hr5504-improving-nutrition-for.shtml

Pass H.R. 5504 Now!

Congress is debating legislation to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, but Congressional leaders are struggling to identify the necessary funding to support this legislation. Without a funding “offset,” we run the risk of Congress passing another extension of the current law.

In light of this challenge and the rapidly dwindling days left in this congressional session, school nutrition professionals need to call on Congress to immediately identify funding and quickly pass Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation. SNA needs your help at the grassroots level. Please visit the SNA website and send an Action Alert to your member of Congress urging them to pass H.R. 5504.

Action Alert: http://www.schoolnutrition.org/LegislativeAction.aspx

Stricter Standards for Ground Beef in School Lunch and Nutrition Programs Issued

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on July 1, 2010 that USDA has finalized stricter new standards for ground beef purchased by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) for the National School Lunch Program and other federal food and nutrition assistance programs.

The additional criteria apply to AMS ground beef contracts awarded on or after July 1, 2010. The approved standards are the result of a detailed, ongoing review by USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

In addition to continuing a zero tolerance for E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella, the new AMS standards: (1) tighten microbiological testing protocols; (2) tighten the microbiological upper specification and critical limits; (3) increase microbiological sampling frequency for finished products to every 15 minutes; and, (4) institute additional rejection criteria for source trimmings used to manufacture AMS purchased ground beef. AMS will also consider any vendor classified by FSIS as having a long term poor safety record as an ineligible vendor until a complete cause-and-effect analysis is completed.

The new purchasing requirements can be found: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5085021.

FRAC Releases Report on Summer Feeding Programs

The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) released a report last week on the state of summer feeding programs. The report, Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation, found that participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) fell last year. During the summer of 2009, the SFSP reach only 16.1percent of eligible children or 2.8 million students. This is a significant decrease when compared to 17.3 percent in 2008 and 21.1 percent in 2001.

The report indicates that participation may have dropped due to fewer organizations offering the SFSP, particularly as state budget cuts have forced programs at many sites to close. Nevertheless, some states have managed to increase participation in the Summer Food Service Program, with West Virginia increasing participation by 24.8 percent.

Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Release Report

Last week, Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced the release of a report entitled, “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010.” The report found that, during the past year, adult obesity rates increased in 28 states, and that more than two-thirds of those states have adult obesity rates above 25 percent. Adult obesity rates exceed 30 percent in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

The report also found a wide range of policy initiatives that are being taken by the federal government and at the state level to focus on obesity. At the federal level, the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity was created and the “Let’s Move” initiative was launched earlier this year in an effort to solve childhood obesity within one generation. At the state level, 20 states have passed requirements for body mass index (BMI) screenings and other forms of weight related assessments in schools. 20 states and D.C. have set nutritional standards for school meals that are stricter than current USDA requirements.

To view “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2010,” please click the following link: http://healthyamericans.org/reports/obesity2010/Obesity2010Report.pdf

Apply for a USDA Community Facilities Grant

Is your school district in need of new kitchen equipment, or are you looking to participate in a Farm to School program? If you work in a rural community of fewer than 20,000 people, you are eligible to apply for a USDA Community Facilities Grant. The USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities Program received $44 million in federal funding and an additional $31 million in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (stimulus) funds that must be awarded by August 2010. Grants range from $20,000 to $60,000 and will be awarded to towns, tribes, counties, and non-governmental organizations.

Click here for more information: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/HAD-CF_Grants.html  


 
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