The Latest on Reauthorization
USDA Releases Professional Standards Guide
CHILD NUTRITION DEAL MEANS APPROPS CEASEFIRE
The senators who negotiated the compromise on a child nutrition reauthorization bill say they have a commitment from groups to not use the appropriations process to try and tweak the policy if it is enacted into law.
"I want to underscore that this is a five-year agreement with the organizations that have gone through appropriations every year to try and make changes. They agreed not to do that," Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) told reporters Wednesday after the Senate Agriculture Committee she serves as ranking member passed the measure by voice vote.
The School Nutrition Association confirmed that it agreed to not change nutrition standards through the appropriations process. The group is hoping that the House Education and the Workforce Committee's child nutrition bill, if there is one, will go along with the Senate's compromise. "That's what we're hoping will be included in the House bill," said Diane Pratt-Heavner, a spokeswoman for SNA.
That doesn't necessarily mean that SNA will urge the House to pass the Senate bill. "There are parts of it where we're still trying to figure out exactly how it would impact operators," said Pratt-Heavner. Overall though, SNA wants reauthorization to move toward the finish line: "We want to keep the processing going forward before it gets locked up in the political cycle."
Senate Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill Released
The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry has released the Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016, legislation to reauthorize the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Learn more.
Agreement Reached on School Nutrition Standards
SNA worked collaboratively with USDA, the White House and the Senate Agriculture Committee to reach an agreement to improve nutrition standards for school meals. The agreement will be included in the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill, scheduled for a markup on Wednesday. Learn more.
U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee CN Reauthorization Markup
The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee has announced that they will hold a business meeting to markup the Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016 on Wednesday, January 20 at 10:00 am. A live webcast of the hearing will be aired on the Senate Agriculture Committee website. The committee is expected to release a copy of the draft bill to the public shortly before the hearing. SNA will continue to monitor progress and provide updates as they are available.
Register for Spring Workshops Now!
The topic for this year's workshop is "Building a Customer-Focused Cafeteria." Participants will earn CEUs toward their SNA Certificate renewal SNS Credential. Workshops will be held in several locations satewide during March and April. Learn More.
Summer FSP Rates Announced
The government has announced annual adjustments to the reimbursement rates for meals served in the Summer Food Service Program for Children. Learn More.
Dietary Guidelines Released
The Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services have released the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. You can review the full report or the Executive Summary at www.dietaryguidelines.gov. SNA staff are reviewing the report and will keep the membership informed through the Tuesday Morning e-newsletter and news stories as to anything needing attention.
Much of the Dietary Guidelines remains the same as previous guidelines. However, there is a shifted focus on healthy eating patterns and emphasizing the importance of thinking of the totality of diets as they relate to disease outcomes. There is a focus on including a variety of proteins including low-fat and fat-free dairy. In addition, there are suggestions to reduce sodium and limit added sugars and saturated fats. School meals are in line with these recommendations and we look forward to seeing these shifts in diet patterns continue to be encouraged across environments.
The new 2016 Dietary Guidelines: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/
The Nutrition Coalition is already lamenting that the government's advice is the same ol' same ol': "With the exception of a cap on sugar, these DGAs are virtually identical to those of the past 35 years, during which time obesity and diabetes have skyrocketed," Nina Teicholz, author of Big Fat Surprise and a founder of the coalition, said. "Given the same advice, it's not clear why we should expect different outcomes, especially when consumption data shows that over the past decades, Americans have, in fact, followed USDA advice," she added.
Also, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group that promotes plant-based diet, announced it's suing the government over allegations that the egg industry violated federal law by influencing the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the panel that advised USDA and HHS on the guidelines. The group's announcement is here: bit.ly/22M9kb9.
Omnibus Would Repeal COOL, Take Shots at Dietary Guidelines
A sweeping $1.1 trillion spending deal released late last night would repeal mandatory country-of-origin labeling in a bid to stave off hefty retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico and also would try to limit the impact of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines. But the more than 2,000-page bill lacks many of the blockbuster policy riders that food and agriculture trade groups lobbied aggressively for, including the preemption of state GMO-labeling laws and a roll-back of the EPA's Waters of the U.S. rule.
The COOL labeling provision may be coming just in the nick of time, with the World Trade Organization scheduled on Fridayto approve Canada and Mexico's plan to slap U.S. exporters with $1 billion in retaliatory tariffs over the program. It's not entirely clear, however, what impact the Dietary Guidelines rider will have if the feds release the 2015 recommendations before the bill takes effect. The provision blocks the release or implementation of any part of the guidelines that is not based on "significant scientific agreement" or focused on nutritional and dietary information. The bill also calls for a National Academy of Medicine review of the entire process.
The spending package may not deal with mandatory GMO labeling broadly, but it does seek to block the sale of genetically engineered salmon until FDA publishes labeling guidelines. The legislation would also ban horse slaughter in the U.S. and attempt to limit trans fat liability until FDA's near-ban on the substance kicks in. As expected, the bill also continues a provision that gives schools more flexibility on whole-grain school meal standards and blocks future sodium restrictions under the program until there's more scientific research to back those limits. A five-year reauthorization of child nutrition programs was not attached to the spending bill.
Update on Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Programs
The Senate Agriculture Committee’s Chair and Ranking Member, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) recently provided insight into the status of Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation in Congress. Both Roberts and Stabenow agree that there is still more to work through and expect that a bill will be available in January or early February 2016. SNA will continue to monitor the status of Child Nutrition Reauthorization in Congress and will keep SNA members informed as updates arise.
Get Social with MSNA
We are so excited to tell you that we now have a social media presence! Please follow us @MSNAmedia on both Twitter and Instagram. Our page on Facebook is now live, too!
New CN Bill Introduced
In response to the SNA 2015 Position Paper survey sent to all members November 2014, twenty five percent of respondents stated that the paid meal equity requirement was one of the top issues threatening the viability of their school meal program. On your behalf, Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Angus King (I-ME) introduced the School Lunch Price Protection Act (S. 1805). This bill would prevent School Food Authorities (SFAs) from being forced to raise lunch prices when a school's nutrition program is financially solvent. The School Lunch Price Protection Act would make the Paid Lunch Equity mandate only applicable to SFAs that have a negative balance from the previous school year.
Here’s how you can help from home! Please go to SNA’s Take Action page (or directly to the Price Protection action alert) to urge your legislators to support the bill! It’s as easy as logging in and clicking send. Next, share the link with any friends and family that support strong school nutrition programs.
“The School Nutrition Association strongly supports the School Lunch Price Protection Act,” Patricia Montague, CAE, CEO of the School Nutrition Association, said. “Schools want more students to eat healthy school lunches, but Paid Lunch Equity prices some families out of the school lunch program at a time when many Americans are struggling to make ends meet.”
For more information on S. 1805, please click here. To read the Senate press release, including quotes from SNA Oklahoma members, please click here.
Are You Reading SNA's 'Tuesday Morning'?
Tuesday Morning provides SNA members with up-to-date federal legislative news, as well as a sampling of child nutrition program media coverage. Additionally, current state and federal legislative activity can be accessed through each issue. Sign up for Tuesday Morning and SNA will deliver an update on federal and state policy issues to your e-mail inbox every Tuesday. Or visit the Tuesday Morning page of SNA's website. Not an SNA member? Visit SNA's membership page to join or contact the Maryland School Nutrition Association for more information about membership.
Whole Grain Guidance
Guidance on Requests for Exemption from Whole Grains in SY 2014-15 and 2015-16
On Tuesday, February 10, 2015, USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released a memo providing State Agencies with guidance on granting exemptions from the regulatory whole grain-rich requirement in meal programs for school years 2014-15 and 2015-16. State Agencies that choose to offer exemptions to their School Food Authorities must notify their FNS regional office and provide a copy of their exemption process prior to implementation. Read the full USDA memo for more details.
SNA Releases 2015 Position Paper Calling for Greater Funding and Flexibility for School Meals Programs
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – The School Nutrition Association (SNA), representing 55,000 professionals who prepare and serve school meals, has released its 2015 Position Paper, outlining the Association’s advocacy efforts as Congress prepares to reauthorize the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 this year.
"SNA supports strong federal nutrition standards for school meals, including calorie caps and mandates to offer a greater quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables,” said SNA CEO Patricia Montague, CAE. “However, some of USDA’s regulations under the law have unnecessarily increased costs and waste for school meal programs and caused many students to swap healthy school meals for junk food fare. SNA is asking Congress to provide schools adequate funding and flexibility, allowing school nutrition professionals to plan creative, appealing menus that will entice students to eat healthy school meals.”- excerpt from SNA News Release issued 1/29/2015.
SNA's 2015 Position Paper including details about each request
SNA's 2015 Position Paper in short, printable format