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Tuesday Morning - April 26, 2011

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April 26, 2011

Table of Contents

USDA Releases Guidance on Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act Milk and Water Provision

USDA Published Final Rule on Geographic Preference for School Nutrition Programs

Georgia SNA, Mission: Readiness Hold Joint Press Conference

The School Food Revolution

Mark Your Calendars for ANC 2011 in Nashville!

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SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

USDA Releases Guidance on Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act Milk and Water Provision

USDA released guidance this week on the milk and water provisions included in P.L. 111-296, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The memos were sent to state agency directors in every state and provide information on how school nutrition programs can implement these sections.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act modifies the fluid milk requirements for the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. Under the new law, school nutrition programs must offer at least two choices from the following types of milk: fat-free milk, low-fat (1%) milk, fat-free or low-fat lactose reduced milk, fat-free or low-fat lactose-free milk, fat-free or low-fat buttermilk, and fat-free or low-fat acidified milk.

School nutrition programs are also now required to make water available at no charge to children participating in the National School Lunch Program. The memo notes that there are a variety of ways school nutrition programs can meet this requirement. The memo also clarifies that water is not considered part of the reimbursable meal and therefore, students are not required to take water.

To view both memos, please visit the links below.

Water Availability During Meal Service Memo
Requirements for Fluid Milk Memo

USDA Published Final Rule on Geographic Preference for School Nutrition Programs

USDA recently published a final rule on geographic preference for unprocessed locally grown and locally raised agricultural products. The final rule implements a provision in the 2008 Farm Bill that encourages school nutrition programs to purchase locally grown and raised food products. School nutrition programs may apply an optional geographic preference, which will allow them to purchase local items for the school nutrition programs. This rule helps school nutrition programs develop farm to school programs.

To read the complete rule, please visit the link below.

Geographic Preference Final Rule 

Georgia SNA, Mission: Readiness Hold Joint Press Conference

Representatives from the Georgia School Nutrition Association, including SNA President Nancy Rice, participated in a press conference with representatives from Mission: Readiness on Friday, April 15th. Mission: Readiness is an organization of retired military leaders advocating on children’s health and education. The press conference, held during Georgia SNA’s annual conference, discussed the need for better equipment for the school nutrition programs.

According to Mission: Readiness, 75 percent of young adults nationwide are rejected for military service. During the recent Child Nutrition Reauthorization debate, Mission: Readiness supported the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act because it supported improved nutrition standards for the school nutrition program, among other critical issues. During the press conference, the speakers discussed how school nutrition programs need better equipment to prepare healthier school meals. Georgia SNA President Joyce Akins stated that it would take $18 million to update and renovate Georgia’s school kitchens. Retired Army Brigadier General William T. Thielemann echoed Akins’ comments by noting that in order for schools to prepare the healthier items required by the law, schools need additional funding to purchase new equipment.

Large numbers of overweight Georgians rejected for military service, Savannah Morning News

Obesity’s nuts and bolts: Better kitchens, better training, Atlanta Journal Constitution

The School Food Revolution

School nutrition programs across the country are preparing more school meals from scratch or serving healthier pre-prepared entrees and sides.

  • Thanks to Jefferson County Public Schools’ (Ky.) central kitchen facility, students can dine on homemade soups, chili, tacos, chicken potpies, turkey roasts and other entrees, as well as fresh, whole grain dinner rolls and other breads, some prepared with locally produced flour and cornmeal.
  • Thomas County’s (Ga.) school nutrition professionals are known for their fresh whole grain French bread and sweet potato rolls. They also prep fresh vegetable soup, lasagna and a special treat called “Wacky Cake” - plum puree is the secret ingredient.
  • In Gooding, Idaho’s school cafeterias, many entrees are prepared from scratch, and students get in on the fun too, creating their own masterpieces with locally-grown potatoes and toppings from the potato bar, including low-fat cheese, fat-free sour cream, salsa, olives, chopped broccoli, home-made chili, ground turkey and beef.
  • Other districts are using student-raised or locally grown foods in their recipes, or are working with chefs in their communities to help train school cooks to prepare healthy new meals.

 

However, school nutrition programs face enormous hurdles in their efforts to scratch cook. In the early years of the National School Lunch Program, schools received financial assistance to help cover the cost of expensive commercial grade equipment purchases. But the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 eliminated that assistance and slashed other support for school meals. Since then, as food prices have climbed, many school nutrition programs have struggled to break even, let alone invest in new equipment, hire the additional staff necessary to scratch-prep meals and train cooks on proper handling techniques for raw meat in accordance with strict school food safety standards.

As a result, school nutrition programs must have access to healthy, pre-prepared foods that meet the nutrition requirements for school meals. Food companies are meeting this critical need, and have made tremendous progress in improving their foods using healthier preparation methods, leaner meats, whole grain ingredients and less sodium and sugar.

Many of these companies have made noteworthy commitments to provide healthier products, including the multi-industry agreement with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to help schools serve healthier meals at more affordable prices and The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation’s pledge to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to reduce calories by 1.5 trillion a year. Food industry efforts in schools and in the commercial market where families and restaurants rely on pre-prepared foods will be critical to helping America's families improve their diets.

Mark Your Calendars for ANC 2011 in Nashville!

Be sure to mark you calendars for ANC 2011 in Nashville! ANC 2011 will be from July 10-13 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. In addition to the always exciting exhibit floor, there will numerous education sessions on a variety of issues important to school nutrition professionals. There will be several education sessions focusing on implementation of the new child nutrition reauthorization bill, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Schools Act. Also be sure to attend SNA’s Legislative Update, which will keep you “in the know” about important legislative issues facing the school nutrition programs.

For additional information regarding ANC 2011, including a registration form, please visit the link below.

ANC 2011


 
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