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Tuesday Morning February 26, 2008

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February 26, 2008

 

Table of Contents

Fallout Continues from Beef Recall
Only 5 Days Until LAC 2008!
House Education and Labor Committee Requests Study on ERP
School Nutrition and the Presidential Campaign
Florida Legislators Introduce Nutrition Standards Bills
National School Breakfast Week is Next Week!
USDA Launches Partner with MyPyramid Program
Study: Salt and Soft Drinks Linked to Childhood Overweight

In Every Issue

Legislative Action Center
Legislative Toolkit
PR Toolkit
State Policy Index
State and Federal Legislation

Fallout Continues from Beef Recall

usda

Fallout continued this week following the historic beef recall by the Hallmark/Westland Meat Co. of Chino, Calif.  On Sunday, February 17th, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that approximately 143,383,823 pounds of beef were recalled after being deemed unfit for human consumption.  According to FSIS, the cattle did not receive complete and proper inspection prior to slaughter.  School nutrition programs that received products from this company are currently in the process of destroying the product.  Several high profile articles appeared on the recall this week, including stories in the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Last week, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer, asking for the creation of an emergency rule that would list all retail outlets, including schools that received the recalled beef.  DeLauro, along with Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Representatives George Miller (D-Calif.) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), recently sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) asking for an investigation into the safety of the meat supply.  DeLauro also announced last week that the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee would also discuss the recall during an upcoming hearing.

The Senate Appropriation Subcommittee on Agriculture also announced that it will hold a hearing examining the beef recall on Thursday, February 28th at 2PM.  Expected to testify are Agriculture Secretary Schafer, Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Richard Raymond, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Nancy Montanez Johner, and Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Bruce Knight.  Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle and American Meat Institute Foundation President James Hodges are also expected to testify.

SNA has posted a resource center for school nutrition operators dealing with this changing situation.  In the Beef Recall Resource Page, CN operators will find updated information and guidance concerning the recall, as well as talking points to use when answering questions from concerned parents and the media.

Only 5 Days Until LAC 2008!

Starting Sunday, more than 700 school nutrition professionals will discuss the crisis in funding for school meal programs and urge the Congress to require science-based, yet practical, uniform national school nutrition standards to govern the sale of all foods and beverages available during the school day. The School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) 36th annual Legislative Action Conference in Washington, DC, March 2-5, 2008, will bring together school nutrition directors and supervisors, nutritionists, state child nutrition directors and foodservice industry representatives. For additional information, please visit Related Links.

House Education and Labor Committee Requests Study on ERP

The House Education and Labor Committee sent a letter to the Government Accounting Office (GAO) this week, requesting a study on state and local initiatives to fund programs that provide free meals to students in the reduced price category.  The 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act authorized a pilot program to study the effectiveness of eliminating the reduced price category (ERP), however, it did not authorize funding for the pilot. For the past three years, SNA has sought funding for the pilot program.  The GAO study will look at the effectiveness of programs implemented by both state and local governments.  SNA hopes the results will be available for the 2009 Reauthorization.

School Nutrition and the Presidential Campaign

On February 23, 2008, as part of a press availability carried live on CNN, presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama answered several question relating to foods of minimal nutritional value in schools. A reporter asked him if he thought schools should have soda vending machines. The Senator responded as follows:
"I would like to see schools reexamine how easily they make soda available. I speak, you know, as a kid who was chugging down three or four Mountain Dews, you know, a day, along with the Twinkie. So, nobody told me at the time there was all that caffeine. I’m wondering why I was jittery in class. So obviously there's a case of – you know, we survived drinking soda pop, and I think there's nothing wrong with having a soda once in a while. I do think that given the extraordinary increases in obesity rates, the extraordinary increases in adult diabetes and children, that we have to start thinking about our kids' health in much more serious ways. And if they are consuming vast amounts of soft drinks chock full of corn syrup, then we should, you know, consider whether we want to maybe have at least some zones like schools where they have to drink water once in a while. And obviously it all starts, though, at the home and trying to change habits. And these are things, by the way, that Michelle and I are, you know, had to work with our own daughters about."

The follow-up question was whether the federal government should get involved. Senator Obama answered "I think that the federal government should be in a partnership with local school districts and states in figuring out what the best approach is. I don't think we have to be extremists. You know, I mean, with our own daughters we try not to make them obsessive about food, and if they want an ice cream once in a while or they want a pop, they can. The question is just can we build in good health habits for our kids. And given the amount of time that kids spend in school, working with those schools to encourage better health habits in our kids I think is something sensible and has to be part of our broader public health agenda."

Florida Legislators Introduce Nutrition Standards Bills

florida

Legislators in Florida are looking closely at two bills pertaining to school nutrition standards this year.  Both SB 1708 and HB 1015 would set nutrition standards for food sold during the school day.  The standards would eliminate the use of trans fats, expand the use of whole grains, limit the size servings of fruit juice, and restrict the fat content of milk to 1 percent or fat free.  While Florida SNA agrees with many of the points included in the legislation, the state association does have reservations regarding certain aspects.  FSNA supports increasing the use of whole grains, but has concerns that rural school districts many not always have whole grain products available to them.  FSNA also expressed concern at severely restricting the serving size of fruit juice.  The state association argues that also long as school nutrition programs do not exceed the recommended daily allowances (RDA), there should be no restrictions on serving size.  The legislation also bans the use of products containing high fructose corn syrup.  Since this is not a nationwide directive, FSNA has concerns that school nutrition programs will struggle to procure products that do not contain high fructose corn syrup.

National School Breakfast Week is Next Week!

For National School Breakfast Week, March 3-7, 2008, school cafeterias nationwide will be transformed into rocket launch pads and students will be writing and sharing their creative short stories about how nutritious school breakfasts fuel their days. The three winning stories from the “Fuel Your Imagination” creative writing contest, along with the results of an ongoing ‘rocket race’ between three popular breakfast items, can be found at the official “Fuel Your Imagination” Web site: www.schoolbreakfast.org

USDA Launches Partner with MyPyramid Program

The USDA Center for Nutrition and Public Policy is launching a new initiative to promote healthy eating and good nutrition.  Called the Partner with MyPyramid program, the new initiative links both food and electronics companies to create video games, Podcasts, and CD’s that promote good nutrition habits for families.

Study: Salt and Soft Drinks Linked to Childhood Overweight

A study by British researchers found that reducing the salt content of foods results in drinking fewer sugary beverages and might lower the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease.  The researchers found that if children ages 4-18 reduced their salt intake by half, a decrease of approximately 2 sugary drinks would occur.  Coupled with physical activity, the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease could be reduced in children.

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

State Policy Index

State and Federal Legislation

 

State legislation can now be accessed on the Internet through Netscan. Use Username: schoolnutrition and Password: sna

 

Click State Legislation Instructions for steps to access state legislation through the service. Legislatures currently in session include:  Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and District of Columbia.

 


 
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