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Tuesday Morning - March 19, 2013

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March 19, 2013

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

House Bill Sensible School Meals Act Introduced
Senators Introduce Legislation to Eliminate Weekly Maximums on Grains and Meat and Meat Alternates
The Sensible School Lunch Act and LAC Make Headlines
USDA Released Guidance on Implementation of School Breakfast Meal Pattern for SY 2013-14
Under Extended Meal Flexibility, Schools Able to Continue Using Bone In Chicken
SNA Accepting Online Comments for Competitive Foods Task Force
House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture Holds Oversight Hearing on USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services Program

State Policy

South Carolina Introduces Bill Banning Junk Food
New Mexico Legislation on Farm to School Gains Traction
Minnesota Introduces Legislation Addressing School Meal Accounts
General Mills and Hunger-Free Minnesota Announce Grant for Expanding Breakfast
Texas Breakfast Bill Receives More Support

Reports, Webinars, and Events

The School Day Just Got Healthier Update
New Share Our Strength Analysis Shows Impact of School Breakfast on Academic Achievement

SNA Executive Team Events and Regional Meetings


Federal Policy

House Bill Sensible School Meals Act Introduced

Members of Congress Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) plan to introduce a bill that will makes the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) revisions to grains and protein permanent similar to the Senate Bill. The House Bill also includes an amendment allowing local schools to set the price for a "paid" meal where the program is well managed. Ask your Members of Congress to add their name this week to this important sign-on letter, before the recess. The sign-on letter is endorsed by SNA and came about during conversations that happened during SNA’s recent Legislative Action Conference (LAC).

Click here for the sign-on letter to share with your house member.

Senators Introduce Legislation to Eliminate Weekly Maximums on Grains and Meat and Meat Alternates

Recently, Senators John Hoeven (R-ND), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), James Inhofe (R-OK), John Thune (R-SD), Dan Coats (R-IN), and Pat Roberts (R-KS) introduced S. 427, the “Sensible School Lunch Act,” which would amend the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) by eliminating the weekly maximums for grains and meat/meat alternates. SNA staff worked with Senator Hoeven’s staff on drafting the legislation which would permanently resolve the first point on SNA’s 2013 Legislative Issue Paper. It is expected that a House companion bill will be introduced in the coming weeks. Senator Hoeven was one of the speakers at the Closing General Session at SNA’s Legislative Action Conference (LAC). Additionally, the SNA Executive Team participated in a press conference with Senators Hoeven and Pryor on March 6th at the U.S. Capitol. The full text of the legislation can be found here.

The Sensible School Lunch Act and LAC Make Headlines

Roll Call, a newspaper read by Capitol Hill insiders, featured two key school nutrition policy stories this week. The first story offers an in-depth look at S. 427, the Sensible School Lunch Act, legislation introduced Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) to eliminate weekly maximums on grains and proteins served with school lunch. SNA President Sandra Ford, SNS, who participated in the press conference announcing the legislation, is quoted in the story. Reporter Ellyn Ferguson, who covered LAC 2013, also wrote an additional story on bipartisan support for child nutrition programs. The story features two of LAC’s Closing General Session speakers, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH).

USDA Released Guidance on Implementation of School Breakfast Meal Pattern for SY 2013-14

USDA released Q&A guidance on the implementation of the new School Breakfast requirements for the School Year (SY) 2013-14. The guidance provides an overview of the new standards and definitions for such terms as “food component” and “food item.” Included in the document, which can be found here, are answers to questions such as serving whole-grain grits, information on how to credit meat and meat alternatives, combination food items such as a breakfast sandwich, and fruit serving sizes. Furthermore, USDA provides detailed information on “offer vs. serve” including how it pertains to breakfast in the classroom.

Under Extended Meal Flexibility, Schools Able to Continue Using Bone In Chicken

On March 7, 2013, USDA Foods released a statement saying that under the extended meal flexibility, program operators will still be able to use USDA’s bone in chicken. Please note that the statement stresses that operators must still abide by the weekly calorie restrictions. States can order the following USDA items with initial orders due May 1, 2013: chicken cut-up frozen 8 piece (#100098); chicken, small bulk (#100100); and chicken oven roasted, frozen (#110080). The full memo can be located here.

SNA Accepting Online Comments for Competitive Foods Task Force

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (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.

On February 21-22, 2013, the Competitive Foods Task Force met to begin drafting SNA’s comments on the Competitive Foods Proposed Rule. The Task Force is soliciting input from the SNA membership to ensure that the Association’s comments are reflective of the membership’s concerns. In an effort to collect as much input as possible, SNA has set up a web form for easy submission of comments. To access the form, click here or visit the Competitive Foods section of SchoolNutrition.org.

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture Holds Oversight Hearing on USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services Program

On March 14, 2013, the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies of the House Appropriations Committee held an oversight hearing to discuss the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Audrey Rowe, Administrator for FNS, provided testimony that focused on reducing fraud in the various programs, better administration of SNAP as well as the school nutrition programs, and the success of MyPlate. Chairman Aderholt’s opening statement also focused on these same administration issues such as reducing fraud. During the Q&A period, Members of Congress inquired into the Farm to School program and the impact of budget cuts and whether states should have more flexibility on administrating the many childhood nutrition programs.


State Policy

South Carolina Introduces Bill Banning Junk Food

The South Carolina House of Representatives is considering a bill that would ban all junk food from school vending machines and cafeterias. The only beverages that could be sold in vending machines would be water, 100% fruit juices, and fat-free or low-fat milk. The bill also limits the daily total number of calories in school lunches. Opposition to the bill highlight concerns on school fundraisers. The bill is currently under consideration in the Education Committee and more information can be found here.

Minnesota Introduces Legislation Addressing School Meal Accounts

A bill is moving through the Minnesota Legislature that would require schools to continue feeding students who qualify for reduced-priced meals regardless of student meal accounts status. The proposed legislation, moving through both House and Senate committees, prohibits school districts from denying “... lunch to a child eligible for a reduced-price school lunch who lacks sufficient funds to pay for lunch or has unpaid school lunch debts.” An article on the bill can be found here.

General Mills and Hunger-Free Minnesota Announce Grant for Expanding Breakfast

On March 18, 2013, Hunger-Free Minnesota and the General Mills Foundation announced a $220,000 grant award to Children’s Defense Fund – Minnesota which was given to support Hunger-Free Minnesota’s School Breakfast Program, a statewide effort aimed at increasing participation in the USDA-funded School Breakfast Program. As each school district in the state has its own strategy to implement the School Breakfast Program, Hunger-Free Minnesota has selected the Children’s Defense Fund – Minnesota to meet with individual school districts and introduce best practices case studies that can serve as implementation plans beginning in 2013-14 school year. A portion of the grant is being set aside for additional awards for school districts that may need further supplies in order to serve more breakfasts. More information can be found here.

Texas Breakfast Bill Receives More Support

The Center for Public Policy Priorities endorsed Sen. Eddie Lucio’s bill which would expand Texas public schools’ participation in the federal School Breakfast Program. The bill would require that all school districts and open-enrollment charter schools participating in the federal program provide universal free breakfast, if 80 percent or more of that school’s students qualify for free or reduced-priced meals. Further information can be located in this article.


Reports, Webinars, and Events

The School Day Just Got Healthier Update

USDA Secretary Vilsack spoke at two events in Maine on March 14th. The first event was held at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland and focused on policy.  The second event was at the South Portland Coast Guard Station and focused on mission readiness. These are the first of four days/events that the Secretary will be conducting in March and early April. @USDA live-tweeted the events using the hashtag #healthiernextgen, which you can access from your twitter account. For more information, visit USDA’s the School Day Just Got Healthier website.

New Share Our Strength Analysis Shows Impact of School Breakfast on Academic Achievement

Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign has released a new analysis demonstrating the positive potential impact that school breakfast has on the academic, health and economic futures of America’s students. The study, developed in collaboration with Deloitte, finds that on average, students who eat school breakfast have the potential to achieve 17.5% higher scores on standardized math tests and attend 1.5 more days of school each year. Research also shows students who attend class more regularly are potentially 20% more likely to graduate from high school, and high school graduates typically earn $10,090 more a year while enjoying a 4% higher employment rate.

For complete details and an interactive map highlighting the benefits of school breakfast at the state and local levels, visit www.NoKidHungry.org/Breakfast.


SNA Executive Team Events and Regional Meetings

March 15-16, 2013, Oregon State Conference, Salem, OR
March 19-20, 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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