2019-2020 Federal Legislative News Archives, continued
FDA To Give 6 Months Leeway On Nutrition Facts Update
The agency said this week it's going to give food manufacturers a bit more time to fully comply with the long-awaited Nutrition Facts update that's supposed to formally take effect in January (though you can find plenty of updated labels at the grocery store already).
"The FDA has heard from several manufacturers and groups that more time may be needed to meet all of the requirements," the agency wrote in an updated Q&A on its website. "Therefore, during the first 6 months following the January 1, 2020, compliance date, FDA plans to work cooperatively with manufacturers to meet the new Nutrition Facts label requirements and will not focus on enforcement actions regarding these requirements during that time."
8.07.2019 National School Lunch, Special Milk, and School Breakfast Programs, National Average Payments/Maximum Reimbursement Rates
The USDA, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced its SY2019-20 adjustments to the national average payments and reimbursement rates for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Special Milk Program (SMP) and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Overall, the reimbursement rates for the NSLP, SBP and SMP either increased or remained the same compared to last year. The performance-based reimbursement for lunches certified as meeting the meal pattern increased from 6 cents to 7 cents. These rates are effective from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.
8.12.2019 Food Distribution Program: Value of Donated Foods
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published a notice announcing the value of donated foods, explicitly the national average value of donated foods for those states and schools participating in the NSLP and CACFP. The new rates for donated foods apply to SY2019-20 and are effective July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.
8.14.2019 Final Rule: Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a Final Rule titled “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.” This change to U.S. immigration policies impacts applications for a green card or visa for those deemed likely to depend on government aid. Under the new rule, benefits provided under the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, Seamless Summer Option, Afterschool Meal Supplement, Special Milk Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, Summer Food Service Program, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program “would not be considered public benefits under the public charge inadmissibility determination.”
8.16.2019 Best Practices to Minimize Food Waste
In this policy memo FNS provided program operators with best practices to minimize food waste for privately donated foods. This memo offers USDA methods and procedures for all food waste activities, donated food storage, USDA commodities, distribution and product dating. These planning methods are meant for all nutrition programs but are a crucial resource, especially for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), state agencies and other emergency feeding organizations.
8.19.2019 Updated Template: Local Agency Procurement Review Tool SY 2019-2020
This policy memo provides updates to the Local Agency Procurement Review Tool for SY2019-20. The procurement review tool is intended to provide State agencies and program operators with technical assistance to ensure that a school district’s procurement procedures comply with federal regulations. The original concepts of the tool remain the same but are now designed to reduce burdens, consolidate questions, clarify instructions and improve functionality for school food authorities (SFAs) and state agencies.
8.28.2019 Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request
FNS announced a Comment Request regarding State Administrative Expense (SAE) Funds. FNS issues regulations and prescribes methods for administering expense funds to State agencies. These expense funds are for supervision and technical assistance in child nutrition programs. USDA requested comments concerning whether this collection is necessary for the agency to perform its proper functions and practical ways to enhance the quality and clarity of the information collected.
8.28.2019 Summer Food Service Program, Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request
FNS published a Federal Register notice seeking comments on a routine record collection for Summer Food Service Programs (SFSP) concerning whether this collection is necessary for the agency to perform its proper functions and practical ways to enhance the quality and clarity of the information collected. FNS uses this information to monitor program performance for compliance and reimbursement purposes and to determine an organization's eligibility.
9.03.2019 Final Rule: Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations: Revisions to the Administrative Match Requirement
FNS is requesting comments on a Final Rule regarding several revisions to the administrative match requirements for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). First, there are changes to the minimum federal share of the FDPIR administrative costs for mandatory match requirements for State agencies/Indian Tribal Organization (ITO). There are also changes to the conditions that allow State agencies and ITOs to qualify for administrative match waivers. Additionally, this Final Rule permits supplemental federal funds if the purpose of these funds is consistent with other Federal and FDPIR administrative costs. This rule is effective as of September 3, 2019. All comments for this Final Rule must be received by November 4, 2019.
9.10.2019 Completion of Interim Rules and Withdrawal of Certain Proposed Rules
USDA issued two separate Federal Register notices, both in response to USDA’s Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. The first notice announced the Completion of Interim Rules, including the Direct Certification and Certification of Homeless, Migrant and Runaway Children Interim Rule. The second notice is the subsequent Withdrawal of Certain Proposed Rules, removing prior proposals concerning “inactive” regulatory actions that were under review but decidedly not included in the unified agenda. This action is part of USDA’s effort to reduce its regulatory backlog and focus its resources on higher priorities. These notices took effect on September 10, 2019.
9.13.2019 Notice Announcing Availability of Funds and Application Deadline for the 2019 Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations Program; Disaster Recovery Assistance for Education
The Department of Education (DOE) published a Federal Register Notice announcing the availability of funds and the application deadline for the 2019 Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations program. Under this program, the DOE will award grants to eligible State education agencies (SEAs) to assist local education agencies (LEAs) and non-public schools with expenses related to the restart of schools affected by Hurricane Florence and Michael, Typhoon Mangkhut, Super Typhoon Yutu, and wildfires, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions occurring in calendar year 2018 and tornadoes and floods occurring in 2019 in areas in which a major disaster or emergency has been declared. The deadline for applications is October 23, 2019.
9.23.2019 Information Collection; Improving Customer Experience
USDA announced it is seeking comments on methods and practices for improving the customer experience. The 2016 American Consumer Satisfaction Index illustrated that government services on average, lagged nine percentage points behind that of the private sector. Therefore, this collection request is in part an effort by USDA to improve customer service by collecting qualitative and quantitative comments directly from its consumers. Comments may be obtained by a variety of means such as electronic or social media, direct or indirect observation, interviews, questionnaires, surveys and focus groups. The results of this comment collection will be used to improve Federal services and programs. All comments must be submitted by November 22, 2019.
9.25.2019 Final Rule: Delayed Implementation of Grains Ounce Equivalents in the CACFP
This Final Rule delays the implementation of the "ounce equivalents" requirement for crediting grains served through the CACFP until October 1, 2021. The delay of implementation allows FNS to develop additional materials and technical assistance to help operators meet requirements. It provides State agencies with the opportunity to offer more training to assist meal planners and ensure compliance. This regulatory action is consistent with FNS' efforts to improve customer service and work with allied partners in the CACFP. This rule is in effect starting October 1, 2019.
9.25.2019 Information Collections, Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request
USDA posted three information collections to the Federal Register for public comment.
- National School Lunch Program; Submission for OMB Review is an ongoing record collection required to administer and operate the NSLP.
- Generic Clearance for the Development of Nutrition Education Messages and Products for the General Public will allow USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) to collect information to develop nutrition and physical activity guidance.
- Generic Clearance to Conduct Formative Research information collection will facilitate research in support of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services’ goal of delivering science-based nutrition education to targeted audiences.
Comments in response to these three notices are due October 25, 2019.
9.26.2019 Updated School Meal Guidance
USDA has published a collection of policy memoranda to provide administrators and operators with updated guidance for Child Nutrition Programs (CNP). This guidance, which is being distributed by State Agencies, covers programs such as the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Special Milk Program (SMP), Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Updates to this guidance include questions and answers documents pertaining to school meal flexibility and meal pattern requirements; clarification on milk and water requirements; and updates to guidance on smoothies and salad bars in schools.
Harvard Report Urges Nutrition Education in Med School
The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic has issued a set of recommendations for improving nutrition education in undergraduate, graduate and continuing medical training. The report says nutrition education should be required in medical school, and states should encourage or require nutrition education courses to maintain medical licenses.
USDA Updates Guidance on School Meal Programs
USDA has published a collection of policy memoranda to provide administrators and operators with updated guidance for Child Nutrition Programs (CNP). Read More
National School Lunch, Special Milk, and School Breakfast Programs, National Average Payments/Maximum Reimbursement Rates
This Notice announces the annual adjustments to the national average payments, the amount of money the Federal Government provides States for lunches, afterschool snacks, and breakfasts served to children participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs; to the maximum reimbursement rates, the maximum per lunch rate from Federal funds that a State can provide a school food authority for lunches served to children participating in the National School Lunch Program; and to the rate of reimbursement for a half-pint of milk served to non-needy children in a school or institution that participates in the Special Milk Program for Children. The annual payments and rates adjustments for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs reflect changes in the Food Away From Home series of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. The annual rate adjustment for the Special Milk Program reflects changes in the Producer Price Index for Fluid Milk Products. Further adjustments are made to these rates to reflect higher costs of providing meals in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The payments and rates are prescribed on an annual basis each July.
Overall, reimbursement rates this year for the National School Lunch, Breakfast Programs and the Special Milk Program either remained the same or increased compared to last year. Of note, the performance-based reimbursement for lunches certified as meeting the meal pattern increased from 6 cents to 7 cents.
These rates are effective from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jessica Saracino, Branch Chief, Program Monitoring and Operational Support Division, Child Nutrition Programs, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 640, Alexandria, VA 22302-1594.
Special Milk Program for Children—Pursuant to section 3 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, as amended (42 U.S.C. 1772), the Department announces the rate of reimbursement for a half-pint of milk served to non-needy children in a school or institution that participates in the Special Milk Program for Children. This rate is adjusted annually to reflect changes in the Producer Price Index for Fluid Milk Products, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor.
National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs—Pursuant to sections 11 and 17A of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, (42 U.S.C. 1759a and 1766a), and section 4 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1773), the Department annually announces the adjustments to the National Average Payment Factors and to the maximum Federal reimbursement rates for lunches and afterschool snacks served to children participating in the National School Lunch Program and breakfasts served to children participating in the School Breakfast Program. Adjustments are prescribed each July 1, based on changes in the Food Away From Home series of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor.
Lunch Payment Levels—Section 4 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1753) provides general cash for food assistance payments to States to assist schools in purchasing food. The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act provides two different section 4 payment levels for lunches served under the National School Lunch Program. The lower payment level applies to lunches served by school food authorities in which less than 60 percent of the lunches served in the school lunch program during the second preceding school year were served free or at a reduced price. The higher payment level applies to lunches served by school food authorities in which 60 percent or more of the lunches served during the second preceding school year were served free or at a reduced price.
To supplement these section 4 payments, section 11 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C.1759 (a)) provides special cash Start Printed Page 38591assistance payments to aid schools in providing free and reduced price lunches. The section 11 National Average Payment Factor for each reduced price lunch served is set at 40 cents less than the factor for each free lunch.
As authorized under sections 8 and 11 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1757 and 1759a), maximum reimbursement rates for each type of lunch are prescribed by the Department in this Notice. These maximum rates are to ensure equitable disbursement of Federal funds to school food authorities.
Performanced-based Reimbursement—In addition to the funding mentioned above, school food authorized certified as meeting the meal pattern and nutrition standard requirements set forth in 7 CFR parts 210 and 220 are eligible to receive performance-based cash assistance for each reimbursable lunch served (an additional seven cents per lunch available beginning July 1, 2019, increased by inflation from six cents to seven cents, and will continue to be adjusted and rounded down to the nearest whole cent).
Afterschool Snack Payments in Afterschool Care Programs—Section 17A of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1766a) establishes National Average Payments for free, reduced price and paid afterschool snacks as part of the National School Lunch Program.
Breakfast Payment Factors—Section 4 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1773) establishes National Average Payment Factors for free, reduced price, and paid breakfasts served under the School Breakfast Program and additional payments for free and reduced price breakfasts served in schools determined to be in “severe need” because they serve a high percentage of needy children.
The following specific section 4, section 11, and section 17A National Average Payment Factors and maximum reimbursement rates for lunch, the afterschool snack rates, and the breakfast rates are in effect from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. Due to a higher cost of living, the average payments and maximum reimbursements for Alaska, Puerto Rico and Hawaii are higher than those for all other States. The District of Columbia, Virgin Islands, and Guam use the figures specified for the contiguous States. These rates do not include the value of USDA Foods or cash-in-lieu of USDA Foods which schools receive as additional assistance for each meal served to participants under the Program. A notice announcing the value of USDA Foods and cash-in-lieu of USDA Foods is published separately in the Federal Register.
Adjustments to the national average payment rates for all lunches served under the National School Lunch Program, breakfasts served under the School Breakfast Program, and afterschool snacks served under the National School Lunch Program are rounded down to the nearest whole cent.
Special Milk Program Payments
For the period July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, the rate of reimbursement for a half-pint of milk served to a non-needy child in a school or institution that participates in the Special Milk Program is 21.50 cents reflecting an increase of 1 cent from the School Year (SY) 2018-2019 level. This change is based on the 3.92 percent increase in the Producer Price Index for Fluid Milk Products from May 2018 to May 2019.
As a reminder, schools or institutions with pricing programs that elect to serve milk free to eligible children continue to receive the average cost of a half-pint of milk (the total cost of all milk purchased during the claim period divided by the total number of purchased half-pints) for each half-pint served to an eligible child.
National School Lunch Program Payments
Overall, payments for the National School Lunch Program and the Afterschool Snack Program either remained the same or increased from last years payments due to a 2.94 percent increase in the national average payment rates for schools and residential child care institutions for the period July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020 in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for the food away from home series during the 12-month period May 2018 to May 2019 (from a level of 275.307 in May 2017, as previously published in the Federal Register to 283.394 in May 2019).
These changes are reflected below.
Section 4 National Average Payment Factors—In school food authorities that served less than 60 percent free and reduced price lunches in School Year (SY) 2017-2018, the payments for meals served are: Contiguous States: Paid rate—32 cents (1 cent increase from the SY 2018-2019 level), free and reduced price rate—32 cents (1 cent increase), maximum rate—40 cents (1 cent increase); Alaska: Paid rate—53 cents (2 cents increase), free and reduced price rate—53 cents (2 cents increase), maximum rate—63 cents (2 cents increase); Hawaii and Puerto Rico: Paid rate—38 cents (1 cent increase), free and reduced price rate—38 cents (1 cent increase), maximum rate—46 cents (1 cent increase).
In school food authorities that served 60 percent or more free and reduced price lunches in School Year 2017-2018, payments are: Contiguous States: Paid rate—34 cents (1 cent increase from the SY 2018-2019 level), free and reduced price rate—34 cents (1 cent increase), maximum rate—40 cents (1 cent increase); Alaska: Paid rate—55 cents (2 cents increase), free and reduced price rate—55 cents (2 cents increase), maximum rate—63 cents (2 cents increase); Hawaii and Puerto Rico: Paid rate—40 cents (1 cent increase), free and reduced price rate—40 cents (1 cent increase), maximum rate—46 cents (1 cent increase).
Beginning this year, School food authorities certified to receive the performance-based cash assistance will receive an additional 7 cents (adjusted annually) added to the above amounts as part of their section 4 payments.
Section 11 National Average Payment Factors—Contiguous States: Free lunch—3 dollars and 9 cents (9 cents increase from the SY 2018-2019 level), reduced price lunch—2 dollars and 69 cents (9 cents increase); Alaska: Free lunch—5 dollars and 1 cent (14 cents increase), reduced price lunch—4 dollars and 61 cents (14 cents increase); Hawaii and Puerto Rico: Free lunch—3 dollars and 62 cents (11 cents increase), reduced price lunch—3 dollars and 22 cents (11 cents increase).
Afterschool Snacks in Afterschool Care Programs—The payments are: Contiguous States: Free snack—94 cents (3 cents increase from the SY 2018-2019 level), reduced price snack—47 cents (2 cents increase), paid snack—8 cents (no change); Alaska: Free snack—1 dollar and 52 cents (4 cents increase), reduced price snack—76 cents (2 cents increase), paid snack—13 cents (no change); Hawaii and Puerto Rico: Free snack—1 dollar and 10 cents (4 cents increase), reduced price snack—55 cents (2 cent increase), paid snack—10 cents (1 cent increase).
School Breakfast Program Payments
Overall, payments for the National School Breakfast Program either remained the same or increased from last years payments due to a 2.94 percent increase in the national average payment rates for schools and residential child care institutions for the period July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020 in the Consumer Price Index for Start Printed Page 38592All Urban Consumers in the Food Away from Home series during the 12-month period May 2018 to May 2019 (from a level of 275.307 in May 2018, as previously published in the Federal Register to 283.394 in May 2019).
These changes are reflected below.
For schools “not in severe need” the payments are: Contiguous States: Free breakfast—1 dollar and 84 cents (5 cents increase from the SY 2018-2019 level), reduced price breakfast—1 dollar and 54 cents (5 cents increase), paid breakfast—31 cents (no change); Alaska: Free breakfast—2 dollars and 95 cents (8 cents increase), reduced price breakfast—2 dollars and 65 cents (8 cents increase), paid breakfast—47 cents (1 cent increase); Hawaii and Puerto Rico: Free breakfast—2 dollars and 15 cents (6 cents increase), reduced price breakfast—1 dollar and 85 cents (6 cents increase), paid breakfast—36 cents (1 cent increase).
For schools in “severe need” the payments are: Contiguous States: Free breakfast—2 dollars and 20 cents (6 cents increase from the SY 2018-2019 level), reduced price breakfast—1 dollar and 90 cents (6 cents increase), paid breakfast—31 cents (no change); Alaska: Free breakfast—3 dollars and 53 cents (10 cents increase), reduced price breakfast—3 dollars and 23 cents (10 cents increase), paid breakfast—47 cents (1 cent increase); Hawaii and Puerto Rico: Free breakfast—2 dollars and 57 cents (7 cents increase), reduced price breakfast—2 dollars and 27 cents (7 cents increase), paid breakfast—36 cents (1 cent increase).
The following chart illustrates the lunch National Average Payment Factors with the sections 4 and 11 already combined to indicate the per lunch amount; the maximum lunch reimbursement rates; the reimbursement rates for afterschool snacks served in afterschool care programs; the breakfast National Average Payment Factors including severe need schools; and the milk reimbursement rate. All amounts are expressed in dollars or fractions thereof. The payment factors and reimbursement rates used for the District of Columbia, Virgin Islands, and Guam are those specified for the contiguous States.
CLICK HERE TO SEE CHART AND VIEW ORIGINAL AND FULL ARTICLE.
Beef Up Your Culinary Skills With New Online Training
We are excited to announce our new Culinary Skills module, available to you online in the Training Zone! This new module includes a series of video tutorials, presented by members of SNA’s Chef’s Task Force. Utilizing the proper technique in the kitchen saves time and cost.
The modules will instruct new and veteran kitchen staff alike on three critical skills needed for food preparation. Each 20-minute module includes a video demonstration of the skill along with fun and engaging activities and questions to not only make the learning fun, but to also help you retain what you’ve learned.
Once completed, you will have earned one CEU, but most importantly, you have either learned a new skill or brushed up on a skill. Join Chefs Brenda Wattles, Cyndie Story and Sharon Schaeffer as they demonstrate three critical food preparation skills needed in your school kitchen!
This module includes tutorials in:
- Knife Skills for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
- Understanding Weights and Measures
- Calibrating and Using Thermometers
And, we now offer District Packages at discount prices to train your entire kitchen staff:
Breakfast Commodities Bill Introduced
This bipartisan bill, supported by SNA, would strengthen and expand the School Breakfast Program (SBP) by proving additional federal support to those schools participating in the SBP. Read More
SNA Comments on Proposed Revision of Categorical Eligibility
SNA submitted comments in response to the USDA Proposed Rule: Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Read More
Updated Unpaid Meal Charge Talking Points
Last month, SNA released the 2019 School Nutrition Trends Report, which included new data on the growing problem of unpaid meal debt in school cafeterias. This topic continues to be the focus of national media stories, and given heightened interest in this issue, school nutrition professionals should be prepared to discuss district charge policies, how they compassionately respond to students unable to pay for their meals and work to enroll needy families in the Free and Reduced-Price Meal Program. To assist with these conversations, SNA has updated member talking points on unpaid meal charges. SNA members can access these points on the “Talking Points and Customizable PR Tools” webpage. A variety of other helpful PR resources, including backpack brochures and media outreach guides can be found at www.SchoolNutrition.org/PR.
Updated NSLP and SBT Participation Analyses Reports Now Available
Here at SNA we are dishing up analysis of the freshest USDA FNS data on NSLP and SBP participation. Read More
States Seek To Prevent Changes To Meal Standards
A coalition of states is suing the federal government over its decision to roll back a federal law that requires certain nutrition standards for school meals. This week, however, the government argued in court that the states, including New York, had no standing to sue over concerns that the move could harm students' health and lead to more costly treatment.
Update: USDA Lawsuits
Since April, SNA has been closely watching the lawsuits filed against the USDA and its top officials pending in federal courts in New York and Maryland. Both lawsuits claim that the 2018 Final Rule on Sodium and Whole Grains requirements was issued by USDA in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. Learn More
SNA Has The 4-1-1 on Allergies
With schools now open for a new school year, an influx of new students can mean a need for an influx of food allergy education resources, too! Visit SNA's Food Allergy Resource Center to find answers to common questions. Learn More
Dollars & Cents
There’s real power in numbers. School nutrition directors know that certain numbers are the key to understanding and comparing different schools’ breakfast and lunch programs performances and guide future strategic and operational goals. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy way to know what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) could really make a difference? Wouldn’t it be even greater if there was an easy way to train managers how to calculate them?
Well, now there is! SNA’s new Dollars & Cents of Financial Management video tutorial training series has been developed by the SNA Financial Management task force as a train-the-trainer series on five KPIs teachable to school nutrition managers from their directors.
SNA’s Financial Management task force, comprised of experienced directors, hand-picked these five KPIs to maximize daily cost efficiencies:
- Analyzing Participation Data (ADP)
- Meal Equivalent Conversions (MEQ)
- Meals Per Labor Hour (MPLH)
- Cost to Produce a Meal (CPM)
- Break-even Point Analysis (BEP)
You can take the modules yourself first, and later use the provided materials to make teaching staff a breeze. Each one-hour KPI module includes a:
- Trainer Guide
- Trainer PowerPoint
- Instructional Video
- Participant Workbook
- Case Study
- Excel Calculator
- Certificate of Completion
Take the first step in aligning your school nutrition programs to maximize efficiencies and experience the difference using numbers to make informed decisions can make. Head to SNA’s new Training Zone to purchase Dollars & Cents of Financial Management.
90% of Districts to Exceed School Meal Whole Grain Mandates
Whole grains will remain a staple on school lunch trays across the country this fall, according to SNA’s recent survey of school meal programs nationwide. The 2019 School Nutrition Trends Report, released earlier this week, also revealed that popular restaurant trends — from made-to-order entrees and ethnic cuisine to clean label options — are the norm in cafeterias as school nutrition professionals work to boost lunch participation. SNA’s press release summarizes key results, which include findings on unpaid student meal debt.
What To Make of FDA's Romaine Testing Results
Lettuce buyers — and eaters — were probably relieved to see the agency announced this week that it didn't find any contamination issues in the Yuma-region romaine lettuce it tested last winter. But what do those results really tell us?
Repeated outbreaks: MA readers will recall there's been a steady drumbeat of large and even deadly foodborne illness outbreaks tied to fresh produce from the region. For those counting: There have been five suspected or confirmed multistate outbreaks tied to fresh produce from the Yuma area since 2012, the FDA said this week.
Limited scope: The agency collected and tested 118 lettuce samples for each targeted pathogen: Shiga toxin-producing E.coli (STEC) and salmonella. The FDA found one positive for STEC, but later determined the bacteria wasn't pathogenic. The testing project pulled product from 26 cooler and cold storage facilities, the agency said.
Produce not letting up on the gas: The Produce Marketing Association said this week it's not taking the results as a sign that everything is A-OK.
"While these findings may provide positive evidence of the multiple food safety system enhancements the industry has implemented, the limited scope of the sampling should not be taken as any rationale for complacency in moving forward with on-going efforts to dig deeper," said Bob Whitaker, Chief Science and Technology Officer at PMA, in an email update after the FDA news.
Factors to consider: Whitaker said the industry needs to continue digging into the role of the changing environment, weather and other factors that might affect the risk of contamination.
Consumer advocacy caution: Consumer Reports also weighed in to note that the sample size was limited — and only for pathogenic E.coli and salmonella. "As a result, consumers shouldn't be lulled into a false sense of complacency," the group said.
What was left out of the testing project? Food Safety News reported this week that the FDA didn't include any processing plants in its sampling survey, which suggests product that was further processed (and potentially contaminated by processing equipment) was left out of the surveillance project.
Anne Arundel Schools Employee One of Five Awarded Nationally for Increasing Food Accessibility During National Farms Market Week
An Anne Arundel County public schools employee was one of five in the nation recognized for her work Monday, specifically creating a Farmers Market in Brooklyn Park and leading a program through the school system that uses that market and 57 other sites to offer free meals to children throughout the county.
No Kid Hungry Maryland presented Jodi Risse, the supervisor of Food and Nutrition Services, with a national Summer Meals Hero Award for her work with the Anne Arundel County Public Schools at the beginning of National Farmers Market Week.
Click here to read full aricle.
National School Lunch Week
October 14-18, 2019
National School Lunch Week will be here before you know it! How will your school showcase the many healthy and delicious options that make up your #SchoolLunchPlaylist? Luckily, SNA is your one-stop-shop for resources and materials to plan a hit #NSLW19 celebration!
Getting started is as easy as 1, 2, 3:
1.Begin by downloading the 14-page NSLW 2019 Toolkit. It’s chock-full of resources and ideas to pump up the volume for your celebration including student and parent engagement ideas, creating social media buzz, reaching out to legislators, the media and more!
2.Download “Playlist” artwork and logos to add to your menus and other promotional tools. From hamburger headphones and pizza and salad turntables to colorful dancers and musicians, we’ve included lots of music-themed artwork for you to customize your Playlist promotions.
Download the new SNA Emporium Catalog or shop online 24-7 to check out the hot new Playlist merchandise—place your orders early before popular items sell out! Order online, fax in your order or call it in at 1-800-728-0728 between 8:00 am--6:00 pm EST Monday—Friday.
06.10.2019 Requirements for Student Transfers from Provision to Non-Provision Schools Now In Effect
In a policy memo published on June 10, 2019, FNS reminded state and local program operators that new requirements for student transfers from Provision to Non-Provision schools are effective July 1, 2019. Federal regulations require Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to provide free, reimbursable meals to students who receive free meals at a provision school and, during the school year, transfer to a school using standard counting and claiming procedures. Schools must provide these students with free, reimbursable meals for up to 10 operating school days or until a new eligibility determination for the current school year is made, whichever comes first. This is an existing requirement for transfers within the same LEA and is required for transfers between LEAs effective July 1, 2019.
06.27.2019 Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request
In a Federal Register notice published on June 27, 2019, USDA announced it is seeking comment on an information collection for the School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study-II (SNMCS-II). The study will update previous data collected during SY 2014-2015 for the first School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study (SNMCS-I), and collect data from state agencies, school food authorities, local education authorities, schools, food service management companies, students, and parents/guardians. Comments must be received by July 29, 2019.
07.01.2019 Delayed Implementation of Grains Ounce Equivalents in the Child and Adult Care Food Program
In a Federal Register notice published on July 1, 2019, FNS announced that the “ounce equivalents” requirement for crediting grains served in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that was scheduled to go into effect this year is being delayed until October 1, 2021. The delay will allow the agency more time to develop additional technical assistance and training materials to ease compliance for meal planners. Comments must be received by July 31, 2019.
07.23.2019 Farm Bill Implementation Memo: Donated Traditional Foods and Civil Liability
In a policy memo published on July 23, 2019, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) notified all child nutrition program operators of a provision that was part of the 2018 Farm Bill’s expansion that states certain groups are not liable in civil cases regarding the donation and service of traditional foods. This provision applies to foodservice programs in public and nonprofit facilities. State agencies are reminded to distribute this memo to all program operators. Program operators should direct any questions concerning this guidance to their state agency. Contact the appropriate FNS regional office for any further information.
07.24.2019 Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request-Information Collection for the National School Lunch Program
In a Federal Register notice published on July 24, 2019, FNS announced an agency information collection regarding participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). This notice invites the general public, professionals and other agencies to comment on this proposed collection, which aims to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information being collected. This notice is an amendment of a presently approved collection which FNS uses to determine participation in the National School Lunch Program. FNS must receive all written comments on or before September 23, 2019.
07.26.2019 Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request
In a Federal Register notice published on July 26, 2019, FNS announced the extension of a previously approved record collection for fast track clearance of the collection of routine, qualitative, customer and stakeholder feedback. The feedback is intended to provide insights into customer or stakeholder perceptions, experiences and expectations and provide early warning of issues with service. Comments regarding this information collection are due by August 26, 2019.
07.30.2019 Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request-Food Programs Reporting System
In a Federal Register notice published on July 30, 2019, FNS invites the general public and related agencies to comment on a proposed information collection for the Food Program Reporting System (FPRS). The FPRS is an electronic reporting system that gives States and agencies a portal for the various reporting required for child nutrition programs. This collection requests information for the electronic submission of programmatic and financial data through the FPRS. Written and electronic comments must be submitted by September 30, 2019.
Final Public Charge Rule Published
On August 14, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule titled “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.” This change to U.S. immigration policies will make it much more difficult to apply for a green card or earn a visa for applicants who are deemed likely to depend on government aid such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), housing assistance and Medicaid. The new policy is set to go into effect in mid-October.
Under the new rule, benefits provided under the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, Seamless Summer Option, Afterschool Meal Supplement, Special Milk Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, Summer Food Service Program, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program “would not be considered public benefits under the public charge inadmissibility determination.”
However, in SNA’s comments in response to the proposed rule, the Association expressed concern that the change “will result in children going hungry during the school day, even though they are legally authorized and eligible to receive free or reduced priced school meals…If SNAP benefits are considered in public charge determinations, many immigrant families, afraid to risk their immigration status, will drop out of SNAP, effectively compromising their students’ meal status. Fear and confusion surrounding this complex rule change will deter these families from submitting free or reduced price school meal applications.”
SNA Action Network Wants You to Share Your Story
SNA is very concerned about any rule changes that could potentially impact children’s access to healthy school meals, which are proven to support academic success, obesity prevention, and overall student health. On July 24, 2019, USDA published a Proposed Rule that would limit the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits that convey eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and in turn impact direct certification eligibility for free school meals. This proposed revision would end SNAP enrollment for an estimated 1.7 million households, and as a result, would end direct certification for free school meals for any students living in these households.
Direct certification is an essential tool for ensuring that low-income children receive free breakfast and lunch while reducing the administrative burden on schools. Because of the nature of TANF implementation, the impact of this revision could vary widely between states.
SNA wants to know, how might this Proposed Rule impact your program’s direct certification, participation, and/or revenue? Click here.
Team Nutrition Creates OVS Tip Sheets and Posters for Lunch and Breakfast
Team Nutrition announces new Offer versus Serve (OVS) resources that are designed to help reduce food waste in schools and summer meal programs. Learn More
USDA Provides Specifics on Second Trade Aid Package
On July 25th, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced additional details of the $16 billion trade aid package. $1.4 billion will be used to implement the USDA's Food Purchase and Distribution Program. Read More
On July 25th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue announced additional details of the $16 billion trade aid package. $1.4 billion will be used to implement the USDA’s Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP). Through the Agricultural Marketing Service, the FPDP will purchase surplus commodities such as fruits, vegetables, meats and milk for distribution to food banks, schools and other outlets serving low-income individuals.
Read more in USDA’s press release.
MD Program To Address Summertime Food Insecurity
Food insecurity among low-income families grows in the summertime when children lose access to school meals, and a new program in Maryland dubbed Summer SNAP for Children will aim to address the shortfall, write physicians Richard Bruno and Nithin Paul. Starting next summer, they write, the program will offer families who receive federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits an additional $30 in the summer months and $10 over the Christmas break.
The Baltimore Sun (7/8)
MD Congressman Goes On "Summer Meals Tour"
Congressman David Trone is conducting a summer meals tour in his Maryland district to see various meal initiatives in action. During one stop, he said he would like to establish a program inspired by Meals on Wheels to reach students in rural areas.
The Frederick News-Post (Md.) (7/9)
SNA Comments on Opportunities for Regulatory Reform
On Friday, July 12, SNA submitted comments on the Federal Register Notice, Identifying Regulatory Reform Initiatives. Throughout the process of identifying recommended regulatory reform initiatives for the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), SNA has reached out to all 58,000 members through surveys and working groups. In addition to previous recommendations, SNA provided additional areas it believes should be considered with this initiative, including Administrative Reviews, area eligibility using Census data, and Summer Food Service Program management. SNA also suggested that USDA look to the Child Nutrition Reporting Burden Analysis Study published June 2, 2019, for areas in need of program simplification. Read the full comments.
USDA Announces Record-Breaking Funding for 2019 Farm to School Grants
Last week, USDA announced over $9 million in Farm to School Grants, marking the largest year for the grants by funding and number of projects.