Tuesday Morning - June 17, 2008


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June 17, 2008

In This Issue

USDA Holds First CN Reauthorization Listening Session

First IOM Meeting on Meal Pattern Requirement Review

May CPI for Food Away From Home Previews Reimbursement Increase

Update: Impact of Food Prices on School Nutrition

Update: Tomato Food Safety Warning

Dole, McGovern Win 2008 World Food Prize

Push Continues for White House Summit on Food and Nutrition

ANC 2008 to Features Sessions on Cost, Federal Policy 

School Nutrition Programs Embrace Simplified Summer Feeding

USDA Launches the “Road to Healthville”

Trends in Children’s Snacks

Report Finds More U.S. Children Live in Poverty

Child Overweight Research Round Up

SNA Releases 2008-09 Promotional Calendar

In Every Issue

Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

State Policy Index

State and Federal Legislation

PPL Committee

USDA Holds First CN Reauthorization Listening Session

usdaThe first of seven Child Nutrition Reauthorization listening sessions hosted by USDA was held last Tuesday in Boston, Massachusetts. SNA Public Policy and Legislative Committee northeast representative Cindy Brooks filed the following report from the listening session:

The temperature in Boston was a "balmy" 102 degrees outside as inside the Tip O’Neil Federal Building approximately 135-140 people from a variety of groups provided input for the upcoming child nutrition reauthorization process.  There was a solid turnout from the School Nutrition Associations of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and New Hampshire who spoke on several key issues. Topics addressed included the need for adequate school meal funding, increasing meal reimbursement rates, eliminating the reduced price category, adopting federal nutrition standards, addressing indirect cost charges, re-examining the need for social security numbers on meal applications, funding for foodservice equipment, reconsidering the current calorie levels in the meal pattern requirements, expanding summer feeding,  simplifying the meal application process, expanding farm to school programs, implementing universal breakfast programs, providing funding for nutrition education and training and funding for locally grown produce.

The next listening session will be held on July 15, 2008 in Austin, Texas. See Related Links for more information.

First Open Session of IOM Meal Pattern Requirement Review Panel

On June 10th and 11th, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) conducted the first open public session of the ad hoc expert committee charged to review and recommend revisions for the school lunch and breakfast programs.  This meeting kicked-off the committee’s work to review the NSLP and SBP with the goal to develop a set of practical and economical recommendations for meal patterns and standards that reflect current nutritional science. SNA president, Mary Hill, was present along side the 3 other SNA members on the committee. USDA officials introduced the committee’s statement of work and provided an in depth review of the NSLP and SBP. Throughout the meeting, USDA officials stressed the importance for "attainable, feasible recommendations, which will not jeopardize participation in the programs." Phase I report is expected to be issued for comment around January 2009.  The report will identify proposed criteria and the process for selecting food groups, nutrient targets and minimum standards for each week's menus.

The Committee will also hold an open public workshop on July 9, 2008 in Washington, DC.  The workshop will be designed to gather information and perspectives on the needed revisions to these school meal programs. The time, exact location, agenda and registration will be announced by June 15, 2008.  SNA will provide comments at the workshop and will update members on time, location and agenda as it is announced.  See Related Links for a Link to the IOM project website.

May CPI for Food Away From Home Previews Reimbursement Increase

The U.S. Department of Labor reported last Friday that consumer prices rose by 0.6 percent last month, the biggest one-month increase since last November, as gasoline costs surged by 5.7 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics at the Labor Department also published the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the food away from home series for the month of May, putting it at 4.3%. This is the economic indicator used by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to set the school meal reimbursement rate for the upcoming school year. As such it is estimated that the school lunch reimbursement for the 2008-2009 school year will go up about 10.6 cents for free and reduced meals to approximately $2.57 for free and $2.17 for reduced. Please note this is a prediction and the actual reimbursement rate increase for next school year should be posted in the Federal Register around July 1, 2008.

Update: Impact of Food Prices on School Nutrition

On June 15, 2008, the press coverage of school meal cost issues continued with a major article in the Los Angeles Times. Citing 2006 SNA Director of Year winner Lynnelle Grumbles SNS and SNA past president Janey Thornton PhD, SNS, the article addresses school nutrition cost increases as well as those of other federal programs including the military and federal prison system. Several other articles also appeared last week. In the past six weeks SNA has tracked over 100 local news stories on school districts raising lunch prices for the upcoming school year, with the average increase being 26 cents and the average elementary lunch price for the 2008-09 lunch being $1.96. Last week USDA also published a fact sheet with suggestions for school nutrition programs to control costs in light of rising food prices, covering many of the measures that school nutrition professionals have begun to adopt.

A new report by Advanced Economic Solutions, commissioned by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, states that rising agricultural commodity prices are contributing to the highest rates of food inflation in decades. The report maintains that as a result of the sharp and sustained increase in input costs, food inflation could rise by an average of 9 percent annually between 2008 and 2012 as the rising costs are passed on to consumers.

Food prices force groups that offer square meals to cut corners Los Angeles Times June 15, 2008

Meeting the Challenge of Rising Food Costs for Healthier School Meals USDA FNS

Rising Commodity Prices and their Impact upon US Food Inflation Advanced Economic Solutions

Update: Tomato Food Safety Warning

Last week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded its warning to consumers nationwide that a salmonellosis outbreak has been linked to consumption of certain raw red plum, red Roma, and red round tomatoes, and products containing these raw, red tomatoes. The FDA has advised that cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, or tomatoes grown at home, are not subject to their warning.

School nutrition professionals have pulled raw red Roma, raw red plum, raw red round tomatoes, or products that contain these types of raw red tomatoes from school lunch menus as a precautionary measure, as have many commercial and non-commercial foodservice establishments. FDA recommends that retailers, restaurateurs, and foodservice operators not offer for sale and service raw red Roma, raw red plum, and raw red round tomatoes unless they are from a cleared source. See Related Links for more information.

Dole, McGovern Win 2008 World Food Prize

dmcgFormer U.S. Senators Robert Dole and George McGovern have been selected to receive the 2008 World Food Prize for their inspired, collaborative leadership that has encouraged a global commitment to school feeding and enhanced school attendance and nutrition for millions of the world’s poorest children, especially girls. The McGovern-Dole international school-feeding program was established by the United States in 2000. Since then, it has provided meals to feed more than 22 million children in 41 countries and boosted school attendance by an estimated 14 percent overall and by 17 percent for girls. To learn more see: Robert Dole, George McGovern Named 2008 World Food Prize Laureates

Push Continues for White House Conference on Food and Nutrition

Last week several members of Congress published a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter calling for support of a White House Conference on Food and Nutrition which would be created through enactment of H.R. 6127. Signing the letter were Representatives Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Hilda Solis (D-Calif.), Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) and Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) The effort seeks to follow up on the first and only White House Summit on Food and Nutrition held almost 40 years ago by President Richard Nixon. According to their letter, “…hunger should be eliminated and… it will take Presidential leadership to end this scourge once and for all in the United States. For this reason, we have introduced H.R. 6127, a bill requiring a White House Conference on Food and Nutrition to be held by December 31, 2010.” The Conference would bring together experts in food, health, nutrition, and economic security to develop a plan not only to end hunger once and for all in the United States, but also require that proper nutrition be taken into account in such a plan.

ANC 2008 to Features Sessions on Cost, Federal Policy 

In about one month the 62nd Annual National Conference of the School Nutrition Association will kick off in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In addition to the largest exhibit floor in the school nutrition arena featuring healthy foods, beverages, equipment, technology and services, four action packed General Sessions and almost 100 education sessions will highlight the conference. Among the key sessions you will not want to miss are Sunday afternoon sessions on the impact of rising food prices on school nutrition prices as well as a session on child nutrition reauthorization scheduled for Monday. This year several ‘hot topic’ session will be featured on topics such as food allergies, ‘going green’ and whole grains.

School Nutrition Programs Embrace Simplified Summer Feeding

With the school year wrapping up in many communities, school nutrition programs are opening their Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sites. This marks the first summer since the Simplified Summer Feeding Program was expanded to all states. The Fiscal Year 2008 Omnibus Appropriations Act, which was signed into law December 26, 2007, extends the cost accounting procedures commonly known as the “Simplified” Summer Food Service Program. Twenty-six States and Puerto Rico had been operating under the simplified procedures.  The Act extends these simplified procedures to all sponsors in all States. As of January 1, 2008, according to USDA, all SFSP sponsors will receive the maximum “meals times rates” operating and administrative reimbursements without regard to their actual costs.  Sponsors may combine their reimbursements to pay for any allowable cost, whether operating or administrative.  Under these new procedures:

  • Sponsors do not have to report their costs to the State agency, although they must maintain records for the State agency review,
  • Costs do not have to be categorized as “operational” or “administrative”, and
  • Reimbursement is based on “meals times rates”, without comparison to actual or budgeted costs.

The Dallas Morning news recently covered the SFSP in that area. Dallas schools officials expect high demand for their $1.7 million summer food program, which last year provided free lunches to roughly 8,000 children at some 130 area sites. All youths, ages 1 to 18, can avail themselves of the free lunches, regardless of where they reside. See Related Links to read the article and for more information from USDA on SFSP.

USDA Launches the “Road to Healthville”

On June 10, 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) held a media and exposition event announcing The Road to Healthville, an initiative of USDA’s MyPyramid: Corporate Challenge program. The Corporate Challenge is a collaborative effort between CNPP and 46 corporations, designed to promote healthy decision-making. Featured speakers were Nancy Montanez Johner, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services; Chuck Connor, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; and Dr. Brian Wansink, Executive Director of CNPP.

Examples of corporate participation include:

  • Subway – currently displays food groups that are included in the kids’ meal sandwiches.
  • Kellogg’s – has produced a cooking guide enabling consumers to use their products to create simple, healthy meals.
  • Kraft – has produced a Healthy Living website which boosts recipes, meal and activity planners, and tools for determining body mass index.
  • Campbell Soup Company – has begun a corporate fitness program that educates employees to help with making healthy choices.
  • LunchByte – has created NUTRIKIDS, which includes menu planning, nutritional analysis software, point of sale solutions, and other back-of-the-house solutions. This software is installed in over 8,000 school districts across the country.

Trends in Children’s Snacks

A new study from market research firm NPD Group reported on by USA Today found that children today are not as likely to consume soft drinks, ice cream, candy and cake as their peers two decades ago. To analyze childhood snacking trends, the researchers compared the 14-day food and beverage journals of 500 mothers of children under age 6 in 1985-1987 to a similar group of 600 mothers in 2005-2007. According to the data, fruit was the most common snack for children age 6 and under between 2005 and 2007, while cookies were the most popular snack for that age group in 1987. In addition, children from 2005 to 2007 were more likely to consume fruit rolls, gummy pieces, yogurt, crackers, granola bars and bottled water than their peers 20 years earlier. Other nutritionists emphasize the importance of selecting healthy snacks for young children, citing evidence that snacks account for about one-quarter of children's overall caloric intake.

Child Overweight Research Round Up

Several studies came out last week relating to healthy childhood weight. The Wall Street Journal reported on health experts focusing on healthy eating habits for two year olds and diagnosing toddlers and preschoolers as “overweight.” Obesity rates among 2- to 5-year-olds rose to 12.4% on average for the years 2003-2006, compared with 5% in 1980, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many obesity experts say this is partly due to poor eating habits and greater availability of less nutritious snacks.   

A second study looked at dieting as counterproductive to weight loss for teenagers. Conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota and published this month in Pediatrics, the study was part of a larger one gauging the weight and eating habits of 902 Minneapolis-St. Paul adolescents through interviews with the mother or primary caregiver. Five years later, the project returned to 314 parents who had accurately identified their child as overweight -- and found that encouragement to diet was counterproductive. Teens who had been thus encouraged were more likely to be overweight than those who were not.

Finally, last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released preliminary death statistics that show the age-adjusted death rates in the United States dropped significantly between 2005 and 2006 and life expectancy hit another record high. The 2006 age-adjusted death rate fell to 776.4 deaths per 100,000 population from 799 deaths per 100,000 in 2005, the CDC report said. In addition, death rates for eight of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States all dropped significantly in 2006, it said. Life expectancy at birth hit a record high in 2006 of 78.1 years, a 0.3 increase from 2005. Record high life expectancy was recorded for both white males and black males (76 years and 70 years respectively) as well as for white females and black females (81 years and 76.9 years).

SNA Releases 2008-09 Promotional Calendar

While it may seem the days of summertime recreation barely have begun, a new school year will commence in only a few short months. But summer's conclusion doesn't mean the fun must end along with it! Make the transition from summer to school a little easier for your student customers by planning a cafeteria celebration for the back-to-school season-and keep the momentum going all year long! Access the calendar through Related Links.

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:  Arizona, California, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and District of Columbia.

2007 - 2008 Public Policy and Legislative Committee Contacts

Craig Weidel

PPL Committee Chair

Cindy Brooks

Northeast Region

Sara Gasiorowski

Mideast Region

Annette Bomar Hopgood

Southeast Region

Cindy Hormel

Midwest Region

Melanie Konarik

Southwest Region 

Lyman Graham,

West Region

Lincoln Pierce

Northwest Region

School Nutrition Association

Child Nutrition and Policy Center 


Related Links

USDA Reauthorization Listening Sessions

IOM Panel

FDA Warning on Certain Types of Raw Red Tomatoes

ANC 2008

Free meal program helps families cope with a summer without school lunches

Cookie's place is crumbling to fruit as top kids’ snack

2008-09 Promotional Calendar

The War on Obesity Targets Toddlers

Parental restrictions of teens' diet can backfire;study finds

U.S. Deaths Down Sharply in 2006


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