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Tuesday Morning May 13, 2008

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May 13, 2008

 

Table of Contents

Action Alert: Food Prices Impacting School Meals
Farm Bill Conferees Reach Agreement
Beef Recall Legislation Introduced
Global Child Nutrition Month Wraps Up
High Fructose Corn Syrup Webinar Link Posted
Spring 2008 Issue of Journal of Child Nutrition & Management Released
School Districts End Open-Campus Lunch
Study Released on Teens’ Snacking Habits
Study Finds Utah Children Consume Too Much Soda, TV
 

In Every Issue

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

 

Action Alert: Food Prices Impacting School Meals

alert7Due to the increase in food, milk and energy costs, combined with high labor and benefits costs, the federal school meal reimbursement no longer covers the cost to prepare a balanced, nutritious school meal. SNA is currently reviewing all legislative options to help address this crisis. You can take action now by emailing your Senators and Member of Congress to share how rising food prices are impacting your school nutrition program. Please visit the Legislative Action Center to send an email to your Member of Congress.

Farm Bill Conferees Reach Agreement

The Farm Bill conference committee finally reached a final agreement on the legislation.  During a press conference last Thursday, May 8, 2008, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) announced that the committee had reached an agreement that has broad bipartisan support.  If signed by the president, the bill would add $10.4 billion in new funding for the nutrition title.  That funding would include an expansion of the Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program for schools.  The bill also includes language that would allow flexibility for schools to preference local farmers and producers in their bids.  This would make it easier for school districts to participate in farm to school programs and encourage use of locally produced foods in schools.

Despite bipartisan support for the legislation, President Bush is threatening to veto the Farm Bill.  According to a statement released by Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer, the legislation does not meet the Bush administration’s expectations.  According the Schafer, the failed to include significant reforms and it increased spending by nearly $20 billion.  At this time, legislators are trying to secure enough votes in the House of Representatives to override a veto.

Beef Recall Legislation Introduced

beefLegislation that would enact more stringent beef recall procedures was introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this month.  Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) says that the purpose of the Safe School Lunch Act is to prevent another recall like the Hallmark/Westland beef recall in February.  If passed, the legislation (S. 2592) would give the Secretary of Agriculture the ability to immediately end distribution or order a recall of meat or poultry if there are safety concerns about the product.  The legislation would also require the Secretary of Agriculture to improve the recall procedure for the school meal programs, create a food protection plan, develop an information clearinghouse on recalls, and introduce and finalize new regulations.  The legislation was introduced in the Senate on Thursday, May 1, 2008.  At this time, there is not a companion bill in the House of Representatives.

Global Child Nutrition Month Wraps Up

The first ever Global Child Nutrition Month was a huge success in raising awareness about international school feeding programs.  Over 600 schools participated in the month, pledging to raise almost $40,000 for the Global Child Nutrition Foundation.  Events were held in school districts from Bethel, Wash. to Hillsborough County, Fla.  The month also generated a significant amount of media attention, as communities showcased their efforts.  Below are some highlights from the month:

  • Students at Pride Elementary School in Hillsborough County, Fla., collected more than $2,300 as they raised awareness about potential solutions to global hunger and poverty.
  • Evergreen Elementary School students in Spanaway, Wash., built the largest pizza in their community. By tossing coins that represent favorite toppings into a circle they helped their school reach its goal of $1,100.
  • In Ohio, students at the Beavercreek City Schools received a token with their school lunch.  The token serves as a reminder to students to bring back a coin this month, helping the school district reach a goal of $2,500.
  • Food service managers at several schools in Chesapeake, Va. embraced GCNM, holding activities in their cafeterias.  In one school, students earn coins for each donation they make.  The grade with the highest amount of coins will win a pizza and ice cream party at the end of May.  Another school is collected money for both GCNF and a local food bank, raising students awareness to both domestic and global hunger.
  • Students in the Community Consolidated School District 15, Ill. elementary school district received a visit from former SNA president and GCNF founder Gene White. White addressed students during a school wide assembly, discussing the importance of helping children abroad. Students also raised money during a week long fundraiser.

Spring 2008 Issue of Journal of Child Nutrition and Management Released

Local school wellness policy development, reimbursable vending, and nutrition education are just a few of the topics covered in the Spring 2008 issue of the Journal of Child Nutrition & Management. The Journal is the premier research journal for school nutrition professionals and is a publication of the School Nutrition Association.  Some highlights include:

  • Researchers looked at school nutrition employee participation in the development of local school wellness policies.  The researchers found that their greatest concerns about the policies were cost, support, and enforcement.
  • An examination of the Improving Children’s Health through Farming, Food and Fitness (CHF3) program in California.  The researchers found that the program increased nutrition education knowledge.
  • Researchers also found that substituting whole wheat flour for white flour in pizza crusts did not affect consumption by elementary school children.

For more information about these and the other studies included in the Journal, please visit Related Links.

High Fructose Corn Syrup Webinar Link Posted

SNA held a free web-based seminar (“webinar”) clarifying the issues surrounding High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).  The presentation brought together several experts to look at consumer, nutrition, and food science perspectives. Over 460 attendees learned about the broader context of HFCS as a consumer issue and examined how this topic affects the foodservice setting. The webinar also provided guidance on messaging opportunities and strategies for communicating scientifically accurate information to policymakers, parents, and others in the school setting. If you were unable to make the webinar, you can view the recorded conference through Related Links.

School Districts End Open-Campus Lunch

Due to an increasing rash of fatal accidents during lunch periods, school districts around the nation are closing their campuses and ending open-campus lunch.  According to an article in the New York Times, school districts are ending the practice to prevent car accidents and truancy.  In New York, state legislators are considering a bill that would mandate all school districts close their campuses during the lunch period.  In many communities, keeping the campus closed resulted in more students arriving for afternoon classes on time.  Districts also found that participation in the lunch program rose.  In many cases, the district’s school nutrition program moved from losing sales to operating in the black as competition from outside ceased.

Study Released on Teens’ Snacking Habits

A recently released study by the USDA Agricultural Research Service found that snacking did increase the intake of some food groups, but it also increased the intake of added fats and sugars.  Among students who consume four or more snacks a day, researchers found that they ate more than twice as much fruit as non-snacking students.  The study also found that boys who snacked more often were more likely to meet daily milk recommendations.  Snack foods on average accounted for 43 percent of the day’s total intake of added sugars, particularly through soft drinks, fruit drinks, and desserts.  The researchers acknowledged that if they replaced those foods with more nutritious items, teens’ diets would be more in line with national dietary recommendations.  The study was published in the May issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Study Finds Utah Children Consume Too Much Soda, TV

A study conducted by the Utah State Department of Health found that a majority of Utah children watch more TV and drink more soda than recommended.  The study was conducted last year and released during the state’s “Unplug ‘n Play Week” during April.  Approximately 71 percent of children watch more than two or more hours of TV on the weekends, while 31 percent watch same amount during the week. The study also found that 14 percent of children aged 5 to 17 drink five or more sodas a week. 

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

ClickState Legislation Instructions  for steps to access state legislation through the service. Legislatures currently in session include:  Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin, and District of Columbia.

2007 - 2008 Public Policy and Legislative Committee Contacts

Craig Weidel

PPL Committee Chair

clweidel@mpsaz.org

Cindy Brooks

Northeast Region

CBrooks@seymourschools.org

Sara Gasiorowski

Mideast Region

Sara.Gasiorowski@wayne.k12.in.us

Annette Bomar Hopgood

Southeast Region

awhopgood@bellsouth.net

Cindy Hormel

Midwest Region

chormel@liberty.k12.mo.us

Melanie Konarik

Southwest Region

melaniek@springisd.org  

Lyman Graham,

West Region

lyman.graham@carlsbad.k12.nm.us

Lincoln Pierce

Northwest Region

lpierce@bethelsd.org

School Nutrition Association

Child Nutrition and Policy Center

epeterson@schoolnutrition.org 

 


 
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