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Tuesday Morning - May 24, 2011

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May 24, 2011

Table of Contents

IOM Holds Public Forum on Farming and Food Policy

You Can Still Vote in the USDA Recipes for Healthy Kids Contest!

General Assembly of North Carolina - House Bill 503

State of the Plate—Empowering Schools to Provide Healthy Meals

Upcoming SNA/USDA Webinar on Sections 205 and 206

Appropriations Committee Releases FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill

In Every Issue

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

IOM Holds Public Forum on Farming and Food Policy

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) held a forum on the connection between farming, food policy and obesity on Thursday, May 19, 2011. The public forum, entitled “Food and Farm Policy: Relationship to Obesity Prevention,” looked at all areas of food and farm policy and how current policy measures can be used to prevent obesity.

Eric Olson of Feeding America, opened by explaining the next Farm Bill budget would be cut drastically by $9 billion. Olson suggested that providing incentives to produce and consume more fruits and vegetables would be a more beneficial endeavor than proving that certain commodity programs negatively impact obesity and should be cut. Jerry Hagstrom noted that the link between agriculture and obesity came to the forefront because of the 2008 Farm Bill and also expressed the importance of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign. Other topics of concern were the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and increasing taxes on sugary beverages like soda.

There were also panelists who discussed how major grocery chains can impact the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve. Public comment is allowed and can be made through the link below: http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/feedback.aspx?key=49258&type=projectM

You Can Still Vote in the USDA Recipes for Healthy Kids Contest!

You can still vote for your favorite recipe for the Popular Choice award. The recipe that wins the Popular Choice award receives $1500 towards their school nutrition program. Please visit this link to view the nominated recipes. Voting ends May 31, 2011.

The Recipes for Healthy Kids Contest is a part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. The 15 semi-finalists were selected from over 340 recipes submitted by schools across the country. The recipes were submitted in one of three categories: whole grains, dark green and orange vegetables, and dry beans and peas. The recipes will be judged on student involvement, nutrition, creativity and originality, ease of use in schools, and recipe presentation. In each category, the top five recipes were chosen as semi-finalists. Each of the semi-finalists will be visited by a team consisting of a USDA official, an American Culinary Federation chef, and a school nutrition professional to determine the three finalists to participate in a national cook-off this summer. Click here to see a blog post on the recipe contest from USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Janey Thornton on the school visits.

General Assembly of North Carolina - House Bill 503

Legislation has been proposed to the General Assembly in the state of North Carolina to direct the State’s Board of Education to implement nutritional rules for all food and beverage items sold on school grounds. All competitive foods and beverages will have to comply with the standards of either the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Competitive Foods and Beverages Guidelines or the Institute of Medicine’s Recommended Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages in Schools. These standards are to monitor intake of calories, fat, sugar and sodium. The State Board of Education will report to the Joint Legislative Health Care Oversight Committee and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on the final rules by April 30, 2012. The nutritional rules would have to be implemented by the start of the 2012 – 2013 school year.

State of the Plate—Empowering Schools to Provide Healthy Meals

On Tuesday, May 24, 2011, a discussion will take place on funding for school kitchen equipment and food service worker training in creating healthy schools meals. Winners of the Healthy School Campaign’s Cooking up Change competition will also be present offering samples of their award-winning school lunch dishes.

Additionally, there will be a dialogue on a recent survey conducted by the School Nutrition Foundation and Kids’ Safe & Healthful Foods Project entitled “Serving Safe and Healthy Meals at School Takes Equipment and Training”. The project conducted a pilot survey among food service directors in three states (Georgia, Wisconsin and Kentucky) to gain insight on perceived equipment and training needs.

Upcoming Webinar on Sections 205 and 206

There are a lot of questions surrounding the implementation of Sections 205 and 206 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the two provisions that directly affect the price school nutrition programs can charge for school meals. To answer any questions about these sections, SNA and USDA will host a webinar on Tuesday, June 14th from 2 – 3:15PM Eastern time. Please note that this webinar will be held on a Tuesday, as part of a new webinar series from SNA.

During the webinar, representatives from USDA will discuss Sections 205 and 206, including the soon to be released interim rule on implementing these sections. Section 205 is the Meal Price Equity provision, which requires school food authorities (SFA) to raise the price of paid meals if the price charged to students does not meet or exceed the federal reimbursement for free meals. Section 206 sets guidelines for how much revenue from a la carte lines and vending machines may be used in support of the district’s school nutrition program.

Additionally, USDA will provide a status report on the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act as well as a brief status report of the proposed meal pattern regulation.

The webinar will also include SNA’s Public Policy and Legislation Committee Chair Melanie Konarik, SNS.

Registration information is forthcoming. Please make sure you visit the SNA website for additional information as it becomes available.

Appropriations Committee Releases FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill

Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee released the subcommittee draft of the fiscal year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill, today it will be marked up in the Agriculture Subcommittee. Following the trend of major spending reductions sought by the Republican majority, a cut of more than $2.6 billion from last year’s level, or over $5 billion below the President’s budget request for these programs, totals $17.2 billion in discretionary funding.

“While making smart yet significant cuts to save taxpayer dollars, the Agriculture Appropriations bill for next year also funds several important and necessary government programs, including agriculture research, rural development, and safety-net food and nutrition programs,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “As is the goal of all our Appropriations bills this year, this legislation reflects hard decisions to cut lower priority programs, reduce spending in programs that can be scaled back, and target funds where they are needed most so that our nation continues on the path to fiscal recovery.”

Food and Nutrition Programs Highlights:
Mandatory food and nutrition programs within the USDA, including SNAP and child nutrition, are funded at nearly $90 billion, $2 billion less than the President’s request. This funding will allow all individuals and families who meet the programs’ requirements to receive full program benefits; it also includes $3 billion in surplus funds in case of increased participation and/or food prices.

Child nutrition programs are to receive $18.8 billion, $1.5 billion over last year’s level, $40 million below the President’s request. This funding will ensure low-income students will receive free or reduced price school meals.


 
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