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Tuesday Morning - February 26, 2013

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February 26, 2013

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

USDA Announces One Year Extension of Flexibility for Grains and Proteins
USDA Releases Guidance Reaffirming the Requirement that State Agencies and SFAs Review Contracts Associated with USDA Foods
USDA Releases Interim Rule – National School Lunch Program: School Food Service Account Revenue Amendments Related to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010
Congressional Panel at the 41st Annual LAC to Close An Exciting Program
USDA Releases Proposed Rule on Competitive Foods
USDA Releases Q and A Regarding Competitive Foods Proposed Rule
OFW Memo on Competitive Foods
SNA Competitive Foods Task Force Meets at SNA Headquarters on February 21-22, 2013
USDA Revises Q and A on Certification for the NSLP
SNA Public Policy and Legislation Committee Releases 2013 Issue Paper

State Policy

School District in Virginia County to Vote on Vending Machine Sales
New Mexico Legislation on Farm to School Gains Traction
Debate in Colorado over Proposed Legislation on “Breakfast After the Bell”

Reports, Webinars, and Events

The Institute of Medicine Hosts Workshop on National Nutrition Education Curriculum
School Meals Resource Available at Special Pre-Release Price

SNA Executive Team Events and Regional Meetings


Federal Policy

USDA Announces One Year Extension of Flexibility for Grains and Proteins

On February 25, 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a one-year extension of the flexibility on meeting the weekly requirements for grains and meat/meat alternates through School Year (SY) 2013-14. This extension applies to both breakfast and lunch and states that schools must only meet the weekly minimum through SY 2013-14. USDA stated that they received a strong amount of feedback showing that the flexibility for this school year better allowed SFAs to create healthy nutritious meals while maintaining the integrity of the objectives of the meal pattern guidelines. USDA is open to the idea of a further extension in the future. Making the flexibility permanent is the first point of the SNA’s 2013 Legislative Issue Paper. SNA is pleased to see the one-year extension, but the Association remains committed to achieving a permanent elimination of the weekly limits on grains and meat/meat alternates served in the National School Lunch Program. The entire USDA memo can be found here.

USDA Releases Guidance Reaffirming the Requirement that State Agencies and SFAs Review Contracts Associated with USDA Foods

The purpose of this memorandum is to call attention to previously published memoranda providing clarification on the requirement to oversee and monitor School Food Authority (SFA) contracts with Food Service Management Companies (FSMC) and to ensure ongoing technical assistance and training provided by state agencies to ensure the value of USDA Foods provided to FSMCs are properly accounted for and credited to the SFA on the FSMC invoice. Click here to read the memo in full.

USDA Releases Interim Rule – National School Lunch Program: School Food Service Account Revenue Amendments Related to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010

The interim rule requires school food authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch Program to ensure sufficient funds are provided to the nonprofit school food service account for lunches served to students not eligible for free or reduced price meals. This memorandum provides guidance on the calculations SFAs must make in order to ensure they are in compliance with these requirements for SY 2013-14. Click here to read the interim rule in full.

Congressional Panel at the 41st Annual LAC to Close an Exciting Program

SNA is pleased to announce that the two distinguished and dedicated Senators will be joining the Congressional Panel on the closing day of this year’s Legislative Action Conference (LAC). Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) is the Ranking Member on the Senate Agriculture Committee which oversees all of the child nutrition programs and has served Mississippi in the Senate since 1978. Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) is serving his first term in the Senate and is dedicated to the improvement of child nutrition programs. He serves on the Agriculture Committee with Senator Cochran, as well as the Appropriations Subcommittee focused on nutrition programs. The Senators will be joining Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH) on Wednesday, March 6, for the LAC Closing Session for what will be a dynamic discussion about their expectations for the Administration and the 113th Congress.

Also, be sure to check out the pre-conference session, “Tools for Training on Creating Healthy Meals That Kids Will Eat,” being offered on Saturday, March 2. This USDA/NFSMI session will demonstrate tools and resources developed to help schools not only meet the new meal pattern, but also encourage students to try unfamiliar foods. Finally, be sure and attend the reception on Tuesday, March 5, on Capitol Hill in the stunning Cannon Caucus Room. This will be a great opportunity for Congressional staff to further network with SNA members, beyond the Hill visits. We look forward to seeing you there!

LAC 2013 will be held March 3 to 6 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C. To learn more about LAC or for information about registering onsite, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/lac.

USDA Releases Proposed Rule on Competitive Foods

USDA recently released a proposed rule to develop a national policy on the sale of competitive foods in schools. Click here to read the USDA press release, or you can read SNA’s press release here. To view the full text of the proposed rule, click here.

Last fall, in preparation for the rule, SNA assembled a Competitive Foods Task Force comprised of operators from each region, as well as industry members. Now that the proposed rule has been released, the task force has been activated and will begin the process of reviewing the proposal, gathering information and collecting comments to respond to USDA. This diverse task force is charged with developing a response that reflects the comments and concerns of the entire SNA membership.

The Competitive Foods proposal will be a key topic of conversation at LAC next week. The task force will be represented and will gather comments from LAC attendees. Please note that this will be just one of the ways to submit comments to SNA. 

USDA Releases Q and A Regarding Competitive Foods Proposed Rule

To address what the proposed standards intend to do, USDA released several Questions & Answers. Click here to view the Q&A.

OFW Memo on Competitive Foods

On February 8, 2013, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a proposed rule entitled “Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in School as Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010” (the proposed rule). The proposed rule can be found here. OFW has drafted a memo intended to provide background for the proposed rule, a detailed review of the proposed rule, and a discussion of how this rule compares with existing state and local standards, including the HealthierUS School Challenge Program1 offered by FNS. The proposed rule also proposes to codify a provision of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that requires schools participating in the National School Lunch Program to make free potable water available to children in the place lunches are served during meal service. Public comments are invited for 60 days from the date of publication, with comments due April 9, 2013.

SNA members can log on to www.schoolnutrition.org/competitivefoods to access the OFW memo.

SNA Competitive Foods Task Force Meets at SNA Headquarters on February 21-22, 2013

Last fall, in preparation for the rule, SNA assembled a Competitive Foods Task Force comprised of operators from each region, and industry members. Now that the proposed rule has been released, the task force has been activated and will begin the process of reviewing the proposal and gathering information and comments to respond to USDA. This diverse task force is charged with developing a response that reflects the comments and concerns of the entire SNA membership. This task force is chaired by SNA President Sandra Ford, SNS. Stay tuned soon for a portal on SNA website for submitting your comments.

USDA Revises Q and A on Certification for the NSLP

USDA has revised the Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2010: Questions and Answers Related to the Certification of Compliance with Meal Requirements for the National School Lunch Program. This revised Q and A reflect updates based on questions USDA has received and provide additional information on the requirements for the additional reimbursement of 6 cents per lunch. To review the memo in its entirety, click here. It is also available on www.schoolnutrition.org/mealpattern.

SNA Public Policy and Legislation Committee Releases 2013 Issue Paper

On December 13, 2012, SNA’s Committee on Public Policy and Legislation convened in National Harbor, Md., to draft the 2013 Legislative Issue Paper. This important document will drive SNA’s legislative agenda for the coming year and the 113th Congress. The Issue Paper, reviewed and approved by the Board, is available on the SNA website.


State Policy

School District in Virginia County to Vote on Vending Machine Sales

Fairfax County (Va.) Schools is debating removing soda from high school soda machines as part of a parent-driven group concerned about nutrition in schools. The School Board is currently soliciting comments from the community and will be addressing any future steps at upcoming Board meetings. More information can be found here.

New Mexico Legislation on Farm to School Gains Traction

Two bills focused on increasing local produce in New Mexico schools has gained popularity and support over the past few weeks. If the proposed legislation is enacted, it will appropriate $1.44 million from the New Mexico Public Education Department’s general fund to help expand school nutrition programs in 2014. The money would be used to provide more New Mexico-grown fruits and vegetables in school meals, which would assist schools in meeting new federal rules. Currently, 53 of the 89 school districts in New Mexico already purchase locally grown produce for their lunch programs. The full article on the legislation can be found here and you can track the legislation here.

Debate in Colorado over Proposed Legislation on “Breakfast After the Bell”

According to this article, the debate over the feasibility of the legislation “Breakfast After the Bell” continues in Colorado. The debate is centered around the possible financial impact of the bill vs. the idea of feeding elementary kids in their classrooms. The legislation currently has the requirement for breakfast in the classroom set for schools with 70% free or reduced price meals, but some school nutrition managers are asking the threshold be raised to 80% to help ensure their programs break-even.


Reports, Webinars, and Events

The Institute of Medicine Hosts Workshop on National Nutrition Education Curriculum

The Institute of Medicine will host a public workshop on National Nutrition Education Curriculum Standards for K-12th Grade on March 11-12, 2013, at the Keck Center of the National Academies in Washington, D.C. The workshop is being convened at the request of the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to discuss the merits, potential uses and attributes of a set of national nutrition education curriculum standards, and learning objectives for elementary and secondary school children. For more information or to register for the workshop, visit their website. The speaker presentations and an audio recording of the proceedings will be available on the same website following the workshop.

School Meals Resource Available at Special Pre-Release Price

School nutrition is a highly complex foodservice segment, and it’s more than a little challenging for anyone new to this profession or industry to get up to speed quickly. SNA’s Little Big Fact Book: The Essential Guide to School Nutrition can help. This comprehensive overview features facts and figures about the federal programs, USDA Foods, the school market and a variety of hot topics. From the implications of new nutrition standards to the variations in school district administration, this 40-page resource, updated for 2013, is a must-have for foodservice brokers, manufacturer marketing/sales teams, new foodservice directors/managers, school administrators, state/national legislators and media representatives. The latest edition will be released in a few short weeks, but if you order online today, you can purchase your copy at a special pre-release discount price of just $15. This limited-time offer is good only until March 4. Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/bookstore to place your web order today.


SNA Executive Team Events and Regional Meetings

March 1, 2013, Executive Team Meeting, Legislative Action Conference, Washington, D.C.
March 2, 2013, Executive Management Program, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
March 3-6, 2013, Legislative Action Conference, Washington, D.C.
March 7, 2013, Finance Committee Meeting, SNA Headquarters, National Harbor, MD
March 6-8, 2013, FRAC National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, Washington, D.C.
March 8-9, 2013, Alabama State Conference, Huntsville, AL
March 15-16, 2013, Oregon State Conference, Salem, OR
March 18-19, 2013, NFSMI Major City Training Symposium, Oxford, MS
March 21-24, 2013, Virginia State Conference, Virginia Beach, VA
March 22-24, 2013, West Virginia State Conference, Roanoke, WV


 
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