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Senate HELP Committee Holds Hearing to Examine Reopening

May 21, 2020 
 
On May 12, the Senate Health, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing— "COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and School." Remote witnesses included Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House's Coronavirus Task Force, who acknowledged the problems concerning students missing school but stated he didn't have a proper solution to address the issue. Read More 
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USDA Extends Three Nationwide Waivers for School Nutrition Programs

May 21, 2020 
On May 15, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the extension of three nationwide waivers: Non-congregate feeding,?parent pickup and meal times. All three waivers have been extended until August 31, 2020. Check out SNA’s Summary of USDA FNS Waivers and Guidance?for full details on waivers and extensions.  
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Emotional Wellness Is Subject Of Digital Extra From School Nutrition Magazine

May 20, 2020
 
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it's a fitting occasion for School Nutrition to investigate the emotional challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, while offering some suggested coping strategies. Anxiety about an uncertain future persists, even as states begin to lift stay-at-home orders. School nutrition programs are extending their meal service operations through the summer, while strategizing multiple scenarios for serving meals when the new school year begins. "Normal" seems far in the future and we all continue to cycle through a range of emotions. This article, our fourth in the magazine's series of COVID-19 digital supplements, addresses the importance of self-care.

You can read "Sad, Mad, Bad and Occasionally Rad" on your device or print out a hard copy. Share with team members and other stakeholders as desired. We simply ask that if you share outside of the school nutrition community, credit be provided to: School Nutrition/ School Nutrition Association.

This article will also be available as a resource on the COVID-19 tab of SchoolNutrition.org, and it will be inserted into the digital edition of the May 2020 issue of School Nutrition.

School Nutrition thanks JTM Food Group for their generous support in making this article available.  

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Stronger Together: Announcing Our New Live Virtual Series!

May 17, 2020
 
Stay tuned for more details and speaker info to come in the SNA Training Zone! 

SNA has your training needs covered. We are excited to announce our new “Stronger Together: Back to School Series!” This virtual event brings in the experts for four afternoons of high-level learning to equip you with an actionable back-to-school plan in the unprecedented COVID-19 K-12 landscape.

Now, more than ever before, you need a back-to-school action plan with a solid, all-encompassing strategy to address the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 repercussions for the 2020-21 school year. This series also offers you the exclusive benefit of coming together virtually with your peers to learn, share ideas and plan for potential scenarios and environments.

From strategic planning to sanitation, procurement to packaging, equipment to engagement, menus, technology and more—you will find a full range of topics to outfit you for planning in a pandemic. Plus, there will be networking opportunities! Utilizing Zoom breakout rooms, we will designate set times for peer to peer conversation and connection.

Included with your registration:

  • Pre-survey with registration to hone in on the most relevant discussion topics to you
  • Four afternoons of live content with a follow-up session two weeks post-event
  • Opportunity for engagement through chat and Q&A
  • Access to the digital session recordings
  • Digital action planning tool
  • Suggested reading, including SNA’s “Back to School Thought Starters” white paper

Registration Fee: $149 SNA members, $299 non-members

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District In KY Adds Saturdays To Summer Meal Program

May 17, 2020
 

A Kentucky school district will shift to its summer feeding program next week and it plans to also distribute meals on Saturdays. The district has been giving out 3,000 meals every day since schools closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Nonprofit, District Team Up To Offer Books With School Meals

May 17, 2020
 

Promising Pages recognized that school closures would leave many children in the Charlotte, N.C., area without access to books. The nonprofit partnered with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to distribute donated books alongside meals and has started a social media campaign encouraging people to donate reading materials.

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SNA Urges Swift Passage of The Heroes Act

May 13, 2020
 
SNA expressed strong support for The Heroes Act, which includes $3 billion in emergency funding to help school meal programs cover costs associated with COVID-19 school closures. Learn More

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Digital Extra from School Nutrition Magazine

May 13, 2020 
 
Focusing on the culinary wizardry of school nutrition operations during pandemic closures, School Nutrition published its third article in a digitally exclusive series. Read More 
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USDA To Buy $470 Million of Surplus Food

May 13, 2020 
 
USDA announced that it will spend $470 million to buy more surplus food to mitigate the supply chain disruption caused by COVID-19. The funds will be spent as a part of the authority USDA has for food purchases to help farmers and people in need through school meals, food banks and other programs. USDA will spend $120 million on surplus dairy, $50 million each of potatoes and turkey and $35 million on strawberries. Other purchases include chicken, catfish, pollock, asparagus, sweet potatoes and orange juice. 
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SNA Announces National Award Winners for School Lunch Hero Day

May 11, 2020
 
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated to making healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students. For more information on school meals, visit www.SchoolNutrition.org/SchoolMeals 

SNA Announces National Award Winners for School Lunch Hero Day  

 4/30/2020

ARLINGTON, VA – In celebration of  School Lunch Hero Day (Friday, May 1), the non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) recognizes the widespread efforts of school nutrition professionals across the country to ensure needy students have access to healthy meals during COVID-19 school closures. Among those frontline heroes, SNA is recognizing an exceptional school nutrition director, manager and employee as winners of the Association's annual national award program. SNA’s national and regional award winners, along with the thousands of school nutrition professionals serving students through the pandemic, exemplify what it means to be a school lunch hero in 2020.

While in-school celebrations will not take place this year due to school closures, nothing will stop students and communities from celebrating school nutrition professionals on May 1. SNA continues to work with Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author and illustrator of the popular LUNCH LADY graphic novel series, and Random House Children’s Books, to celebrate America’s school nutrition professionals through School Lunch Hero Day. 

“We are seeing heroic and selfless acts of school nutrition professionals across the country as they continue to feed our children with compassion during this time of great need,” said SNA President Gay Anderson, SNS. “We are proud to recognize outstanding award winners each year, but this year it's important to celebrate the phenomenal efforts of all of our members on the frontlines and behind the scenes feeding students."

Employees, managers and directors were nominated for awards at the state level, and those winners were considered for awards within seven regions across the country. Of those regional winners, the following were selected as SNA’s 2020 national award recipients based on their amazing efforts:

Martha Pellegrino from Blackstone Valley Tech (BVT) in Blackstone Valley Technical Regional School District, MA,has earned the Employee of the Year. Pellegrino prioritizes food safety and the health of her students, providing them with nutrition counseling and serving as a liaison for parents, nurses, counselors and food service staff to accommodate students’ dietary needs. She promotes physical and nutrition education, working with students to teach them how to prepare healthy meals and snacks. She also guides students in their food choices, using daily lunch menus to explain nutrient analysis, and seeks their menu suggestions to ensure meals are well received. Pellegrino has created a wellness blog, providing a wealth of information on nutrition, fitness and health related topics, and helps plan and execute the annual Wellness Fair.  She secured a grant to purchase mobile food carts and helped initiate a breakfast cart program to increase breakfast participation. Pellegrino oversees the daily activity of the school food service program, from compliance to participation, and monitors regulatory changes that can impact operations. 

Heather Bladesfrom Spring Run Elementary in Chesterfield County Public Schools, VA has earned the Manager of the Year Award. Known for creating an inviting and friendly atmosphere in the cafeteria, Blades decorates her serving lines for seasons and special theme days. She goes out of her way to show that each child is special, sharing one-on-one conversation and eating lunch with a different student each day. Blades helped bring to life exciting initiatives, including “Rev Your Bev,” infusing fresh fruit and herbs in water to boost flavor without calories. She was instrumental in adding a smoothie bike in the cafeteria, allowing students to blend their own smoothies by powering the pedals. Blades helped teach physical education students nutrition lessons on making healthy choices and building well-balanced lunch trays. Blades helped lead the "Crunch Heard ‘Round the Commonwealth" event in which students and staff were encouraged to simultaneously bite into Virginia-grown apples. She coordinated with local apple growers and helped live stream the event. Her positive energy, enthusiasm for her job and “everlasting smile” are noticed by all who work in her kitchen.

Annette Hendrickx Derouin, Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Willmar Public Schools, MN, has earned the Director of the Year Award. With 24 years of school nutrition experience, Derouin is entrusted as foodservice director for Willmar Public Schools, New London-Spicer Public Schools, Montevideo Public Schools and the Community Christian School. Derouin was one of the first directors in Minnesota to offer a Farm to School program. She has worked with state and community groups and local farmers to develop recipes, menus, procurement tools and documents on how growers can interact with students and staff to show how local food is produced. Derouin’s leadership and financial management skills have grown fund balances exponentially in the districts she serves, allowing for kitchen equipment updates, increased scratch cooking and menu expansion. A true mentor, Derouin has expanded staff development opportunities and improved the onboarding process. School nutrition professionals statewide look to her for guidance and support on best practices. For 13 years, she’s conducted regional workshops for upwards of 200 professionals. She has written manuals on HACCP/School Food Safety, Farm to School and Standardized Recipes - shared with more than 100 Minnesota schools. 

SNA is also recognizing the following regional award winners. 

Employee of the Year: 
Mideast: Amanda Wimer, Lewis County Schools, West Virginia
Midwest: Rachel Gueningsman, MACCRAY Public Schools, Minnesota Northeast: Martha Pellegrino, Blackstone Valley Vocational Regional School District, Massachusetts (National Winner)
Southeast: Brittany Jones, Henry County Public Schools, Kentucky  
Southwest: Tammy Belaire, St. Martin Parish School Board, Louisiana  
West: Karmen Ivory, North Sanpete School District, Utah

Manager of the Year:
Mideast: Susan Parsons, Raleigh County Schools, West Virginia Midwest:Michelle Durenberger, Independent School District 196, Minnesota  
Northeast: Jane Rice, Foxborough Public Schools, Massachusetts  
Northwest: Linda Harrelson, Joint School District #171, Idaho Southeast: Heather Blades, Chesterfield County Public Schools, Virginia (National Winner)
Southwest: Christi Brown, Adams 12 Five Star Schools, Colorado
West: Jeannette Turpin, North Sanpete School District, Utah 

Director of the Year: 
Mideast: Jessica Shelly, Cincinnati Public Schools, Ohio Midwest: Annette Hendrickx Derouin, Willmar Public Schools, Minnesota (National Winner)
Northeast: Susan Murray, Nauset Public Schools, Massachusetts  
Northwest: Amy Rouse, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, Alaska Southeast: Rhonda Huffman, Roanoke County Public Schools, Virginia  
Southwest: Terri Jo Markham, Chanute Public Schools, Kansas  
West: Ginger Jones, Deming Public Schools, New Mexico


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Section 32- IMPORTANT MESSAGE

May 5, 2020
 
 Section 32 is where CNP's get reimbursement.  These funds come from taxes or tariffs on imports.  Section 32  can be spent on commodities for the programs and to help farmers by removing surplus production of items such as those listed below that aren't being sold because of lower purchasing by consumers or exports to other countries.

Using broad authority USDA has had since the Depression era, known as Section 32 purchases, officials will buy up those surplus products and redistribute them to food banks, school feeding programs and other efforts to help hungry Americans. It’s separate from the $3 billion ad-hoc commodity purchase program that Secretary Sonny Perdue announced in mid-April as part of a broader farm rescue package.

What’s on the menu? Much of the new funds will be used to buy dairy ($120 million), potatoes and turkey products ($50 million each) and strawberries ($35 million). Chicken, catfish, pollock, asparagus, sweet potatoes, tart cherries and orange juice are also on the list. The food purchases are expected to ship in July, USDA said. 

 

Farm groups have been calling for Perdue to exercise the department’s purchase power to help farmers whose markets have disappeared as schools, restaurants and other businesses started shutting down in March. But USDA was slow to step in, even with demand surging at food banks as unemployment rose.

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SNA Implements Staggered Furloughs

 May 4, 2020
 
 We know this is a challenging time and we are deeply grateful for your efforts to ensure students from your schools and communities are being fed during the Coronavirus pandemic. As a result of school closures across the country, we have been forced to make the difficult decision to furlough our staff.
 

Staff will be furloughed for a single week between May 4 and July 31, 2020. The furloughs will be staggered to minimize any disruptions and we will coordinate across the organization to ensure we continue to provide excellent customer service to our members, vendors, and other stakeholders. During the furloughs, you will be able to reach SNA as you usually do, and you can call the Service Center at SNA and leave a message at (800) 877-8822 or by email at servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org. We will be monitoring all calls and emails and will ensure they are responded to in a timely manner.

SNA’s website and social media channels will also remain operational to ensure all members and stakeholders have the latest news and updates on the impact of COVID-19 on school nutrition programs and efforts on the federal level to mitigate negative outcomes of the pandemic. As a result of planning and various communications tools, we expect you will see little difference in our operations.

Please reach out to SNA with any questions and remember to take care of yourself and be well.
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Celebrate School Lunch Hero Day

Celebrate Friday, May 1, 2020

Between preparing healthy meals for America’s students, adhering to strict nutrition standards, navigating student food allergies, and offering service with a smile, school nutrition professionals are true heroes.

On Friday, May 1, 2020, we will celebrate the 8th Annual School Lunch Hero Day! School Lunch Hero Day is a chance to showcase the difference school nutrition professionals make for every child who comes through the cafeteria.

School Lunch Hero Day provides you with the perfect opportunity to recognize the hardworking professionals in your school cafeterias.

SNA has partnered with author Jarrett J. Krosoczka, of the “Lunch Lady” book series, to remind everyone—directors, managers, parents, students, and school staff—that school nutrition employees are superheroes that deserve some recognition.

https://schoolnutrition.org/schoollunchheroday/

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Arizona Families To Receive Funds For Meals

April 27, 2020
 
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service has authorized Arizona to offer students emergency meal benefits during the coronavirus pandemic. The benefits, which will be retroactive, will provide eligible families with funds equivalent to the price of meals for each child -- $69 for March, $126 in April and $120 in May.

 Full Story: KVOA-TV (Tucson, Ariz.) (4/21)  

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SNF Foundation Focus Newsletter

April 26, 2020
 
 School Nutrition Professionals are our heroes! Have you heard? The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) has created a national fundraising campaign that will help all school nutrition operators with their emergency feeding needs during the COVID-19 crisis. SNF wants America to know that SN operators have joined the frontline with other first responders and need their own unique assistance in feeding the millions of children who are out of school. SNF will fund purchases of food and packaging for grab and go meals, mobile carts and kiosks for curbside service, supplies, personal protection equipment and many other items that the districts need.

 

SNF established the GoFundMe campaign Help Feed School Kids Now! that will reach across the country and be shared beyond the school nutrition population.  We have been watching and have already seen the incredible work these heroes have done. We may all be in this crisis for a long time, which is why it’s imperative that we help school nutrition operators feed as many children as possible. 
 
"On a typical school day, 30 million students depend on school meals as a key source of nutrition, and school nutrition professionals have been working around the clock to ensure vulnerable students don’t go hungry during COVID-19 school closures,” said SNF Board Chair Julia Bauscher, SNS, who also serves as Director of School and Community Nutrition Services at Jefferson County Public Schools, KY.
 

To help us reach our fundraising goal-we’re asking you to share! While you’re social distancing, take to social media and share the link and the message with those in your circle:  You need their support.

Because school meal programs operate on extremely tight budgets, funded by cafeteria sales and reimbursements for meals served, SNF wants to help school nutrition programs feed hungry school kids now. With revenue declines due to closures, many school meal programs lack critical funds to purchase necessary equipment and supplies or cover transportation, temporary staffing and other costs associated with COVID-19 feeding programs.

Ask your friends and family to make a difference in the lives of your students during this unprecedented time of crisis. Asking them to make a donation—no matter how large or how small—to SNF’s Help Feed School Kids Now! Campaign will help us raise these critical funds more quickly. The application period for funds opened on Monday, April 13, 2020.

In the application, you must supply SNF with basic information about yourself, your school district, and your school districts top needs. In order to be eligible to apply, you must submit your business entities operating EIN. This application is open to both SNA members and non-members.

If your school district is interested in applying, follow this link to submit your grant application today!

We hope you will consider sharing our GoFundMe campaign Help Feed School Kids Now! Our sincerest hope is that you and your families are staying safe and healthy!

Sincerely,

SNF Staff 
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Alabama Students Receive Breakfast, Lunch Via Mail

April 26, 2020
 
 Full Story: WAFF-TV (Huntsville, Ala.) (4/23)   

An Alabama school district is using a Texas-based program to deliver meals to students through the mail. Through the Meals-To-You program, qualifying students receive breakfast and lunch items that are "shelf-stable."

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Food Shortages Make Preparing Student Meals A Challenge

April 26, 2020
 
 Anderson County Schools in Tennessee served 35,000 meals in the past month but has had to deal with food shortages and low supplies of disposable dinnerware. Students get three breakfasts and three lunches distributed on Mondays and Thursdays, but Director of Nutrition Margaret Burrell says the district has had problems getting grains, breads and some protein items to prepare meals.

 Full Story: WVLT-TV (Knoxville, Tenn.) (4/23)  

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SNA Launches New Weekly Wrap-Up Series

April 26, 2020 
 
How are school nutrition programs feeding students during COVID-19? On Friday afternoons, join us for the newly released SNA Weekly Wrap Up series featuring an SNA member and SEA Level Social's Liz Roesel. Tune in today on the SNA Facebook page or YouTube channel, as Liz interviews school nutrition professional, Mark Chavez, from Long Beach USD in California.

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Will You Be the 10,000th Training Zone Registrant?

April 23, 2020
 
Have you visited the SNA’s Training Zone? No? Well, now is the time to log on! We are getting close to 10K users, and you could be the lucky one who wins* the #ANC19 video package of 20 ANC education sessions. That is 20 CEUs! If that’s not enough to pique your interest, how about all of the training available?

Have you already logged into the Training Zone? Then spread the word to other members who have not taken advantage of the training that you have and help them to win! 

  • Register for the COVID-19 Webinar Series
  • #ANC19 Video Series
  • Over 75 Webinars On-Demand
  • Dollars & Cents of Financial Management
  • Culinary Skills Module
  • School Nutrition Ethics

 

Steps to Enter

 

  • First time users, all you have to do is go to the Training Zone.
  • Login with your SNA My Account username and password.
  • Lastly, complete your profile by clicking on “Update Profile” in the popup window.
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School Nutrition Seeks $2.6 Billion In Covid Relief

April 23, 2020
School nutrition programs across the country are under financial strain as they continue to serve meals through school closures, and they want Congress to include them in the next round of aid.

"We urge Congress to provide $2.6 billion to mitigate a portion of the estimated, significant financial loss that school nutrition programs have and will continue to experience," reads a letter to key appropriators that's circulating. Signatories include the School Nutrition Association, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Urban School Food Alliance, which represents large school districts. 

Greater costs, same reimbursement: "School meal programs chose to keep workers employed, deliver meals to students with no additional reimbursement, and expose staff to the coronavirus with little to no funding for proper personal protective equipment," the groups write. "Many maintained fixed expenses such as salaries while taking on unanticipated expenses such as hazard pay and transportation."
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Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

April 23, 2020

Half of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee members have some ties to the International Life Sciences Institute, a controversial group backed by Coca-Cola and others, according to a new report by Corporate Accountability.

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SCHOOL UPDATE: Reimbursement

April 23, 2020
 
 

School districts feed hungry but may not be reimbursed

School districts have turned their cafeterias into food banks and soup kitchens to meet the emergency needs of children and families who have trouble affording food due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but these additional meals may not be covered by federal child nutrition program reimbursement rules. Katie Wilson of the Urban School Alliance estimates the 12 largest US school districts will spend from $12 million to $19 million through the end of June to meet the demand, and the organization is asking Congress and federal agencies for help.

 Full Story: The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (4/19)  

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A Thank You From SNA President

April 21, 2020 
 
 
Stay safe, stay healthy, and I hope to see you all soon! Thank you! 

It’s National Volunteer Week, and I want to say a HUGE thank you to all of our volunteers who are so dedicated and committed to helping our Association be successful. Whether during normal times, or the current times we are in, you are the heart and soul of our Association and we so appreciate your volunteerism.

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Request for Relief for SFS budgets

April 21, 2020
 
Organizations such as the School Nutrition Association and the Urban School Food Alliance are asking the federal government to help school meal programs facing both increased demand and declines in revenue amid the coronavirus pandemic. "A lot of schools are working through their or have worked through their inventory as they prepare these meals, and they need enough funding to fill their refrigerators again next fall," said Diane Pratt-Heavner, SNA's director of media relations.
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5 Easy Ways To Celebrate School Lunch Hero Day

April 18, 2020 
 
School Lunch Hero Day is Friday, May 1—just two weeks away! Every day, we see more and more inspiring and uplifting stories of how hard school nutrition professionals are working out on the front lines of this pandemic feeding America’s kids, and we are capturing as many as we can in SNA’s Facebook and Instagram stories.
 
We hope that you can take a moment to celebrate the heroic work you and your team are doing on May 1! Here are a few no or low-cost ways you can still celebrate, even at emergency feeding sites. 
 

Start with downloading the official artwork to share on social media.

Give the gift of an SNA membership to a team member. Now, more than ever, an SNA membership is important to stay current, be informed, and have access to top level training.

Share this video from Jarrett J. Krosoczka, creator of the crimefighting “Lunch Lady” graphic novel series, to promote the School Nutrition Foundation GoFundMe Campaign that is raising much needed funds for school nutrition professionals nationwide during COVID-19.

Decorate with School Lunch Hero Day balloons from the SNA Emporium for a festive touch at your emergency feeding site and encourage your staff to dress up as superheroes.

You can also still order School Lunch Hero Day pencils to give out to kids and buttons for staff as well as stickers to decorate your grab and go items from the SNA Emporium, but don’t delay—quantities may be limited!

Whatever your plans for your #LunchHeroes, be sure to tag SNA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—we may share your content! #SchoolLunchHeroDay 

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Court Halts Effort To Roll Back School Meal Standards

April 16, 2020
 
 Full Story: Education Week (tiered subscription model) (4/14),  The Hill (4/14)  

The District Court of Maryland on Monday blocked an effort by President Donald Trump's administration to roll back nutrition standards for school meals. At issue, the court found, is that the USDA did not seek public comment as required under the federal Administrative Procedure Act when it took steps to ease standards for whole grains and sodium in school meals.

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USDA Releases FFVP COVID-19 Memo

April 15, 2020 
 
USDA has released a new memo regarding flexibilities in the operation of the FFVP during COVID-19 school closures. 

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New USDA COVID-19 Policy Memos

 

USDA Food and Nutrition Service has released a series of Q&A memos to provide clarification to meal service requirements during COVID-19 school closures.

SP 11: Q&A related to Monitoring and Reporting Nationwide Waivers

SP 12: Q&A related to operation of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)

SP 13: Q&A related to Meal Service Time, Non-Congregate Feeding, and Activity Requirement Nationwide Waivers

SP 14: Q&A related to Child Nutrition Program Meal Service,

including clarification on:

Milk Requirements, SFSP Closed Enrollment Sites and Camps, Site Finder, CACFP Meal Delivery, Multi-Program Sponsors, Claims and Payments, Civil Rights, Weekend and Holiday Meals

April 15, 2020 
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Emergency Preparedness

April 15, 2020 
 
Find tools related to personal hygiene, cleaning and sanitizing from the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN), LunchAssist tools, checklists and guides on serving emergency food, and free online food handling training through ServSafe.

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Employee Safety Subject of Digital Extra From School Nutrition Magazine

April 15, 2020 
 
The effects and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on school meal operations are ever-evolving. Reacting to change and being able to pivot, regroup and redirect are the hallmarks of our "new normal." To help address topics that are relevant today—and not wait until the next print edition is mailed—School Nutrition has produced the first of a series of digital-exclusive COVID-19 supplements. Read more

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Dietary Guidelines Committee Update

April 15, 2020 
 
The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee's schedule has been extended in consideration of new demands on Committee members' schedules due to COVID-19. The ongoing period for public comments to the Committee, which opened in March 2019, will now close on June 1, 2020. USDA and HHS continue to plan for the release of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans by the end of the year.

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Employee Safety Subject of Digital Extra From School Nutrition Magazine

April 15, 2020 
 
The effects and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on school meal operations are ever-evolving. Reacting to change and being able to pivot, regroup and redirect are the hallmarks of our "new normal."

To help address topics that are relevant today—and not wait until the next print edition is mailed—School Nutrition has produced the first of a series of digital-exclusive COVID-19 supplements.

A PDF of our first supplement, focused on how school meal operations are addressing employee safety, is attached to this e-blast. You can read "The Intersection of Health, Duty and Compassion" on your device or print out a hard copy. Share with team members and other stakeholders as desired. We simply ask that if you share outside of the School Nutrition community, credit be provided to: School Nutrition/School Nutrition Association.
Look for our next supplement to be released in late April. 

This article will also be available as a resource on the COVID-19 tab of SchoolNutrition.org, and it will be inserted into the digital edition of the April 2020 issue of School Nutrition.

School Nutrition thanks E S Foods for their generous support in making this article available.

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The Agriculture Department Could Be Forced To Start From Scratch

April 15, 2020 
 
This is in "Morning Agriculture" newsletter 

— The Agriculture Department could be forced to start from scratch as the Trump administration tries to unwind Obama-era school nutrition requirements, after a federal court this week vacated USDA's 2018 rule to ease whole grain and sodium standards.

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TRUMP'S SCHOOL LUNCH ROLLBACK IN LIMBO

As school officials across the country scramble to serve meals to millions of students amid widespread closures, there's a looming regulatory question: What nutrition standards will they have to follow next year? 

A federal court decision on Monday potentially turned the landscape upside down. The court ruled that USDA's 2018 rule to relax whole grain and sodium standards — which had been championed by former first lady Michelle Obama — violated the Administrative Procedure Act. 

"This really puts the agency back at ground zero," said Karianne Jones, a lawyer at Democracy Forward, the legal watchdog group that represented the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Healthy School Food Maryland in their lawsuit against USDA.

Cooking from scratch: If USDA wants to keep its policy, the department will likely have to start the rulemaking over, including soliciting comments, a process that usually takes years, Jones said.

What's next? The government has 60 days to appeal the decision. A USDA spokesperson declined to comment on next steps, noting that the department doesn't weigh in on pending litigation.

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SNA ANC Update

SNA continues to consider all options in relation to COVID-19's impact on the Association’s Annual National Conference (ANC) in Nashville, Tenn., July 12-14, 2020. SNA is engaged in ongoing discussions with the Gaylord Opryland Resort and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau concerning the effect of the current global pandemic on their property, and SNA's contractual obligations and ability to host ANC in July. The safety of our members, attendees, exhibitors, volunteers and staff is our highest priority. SNA continues to monitor the situation very closely. We appreciate your understanding and patience during this unprecedented and unpredictable time, and we will continue to keep you updated.

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SNA Board Discusses COVID-19 Challenges with USDA

On Monday, April 6, SNA's Board of Directors held a conference call with the USDA FNS Child Nutrition Team to discuss challenges SNA members face as they work to serve students during COVID-19 school closures. Prior to the call, SNA canvassed members across the country to gather top concerns to share with the USDA. Learn more.

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SN Magazine April Issue—COVID-19 Special Edition

SNA truly values our members—and to help you the best we can during this challenging time, this month’s issue of School Nutrition (SN) features special coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and emergency feeding in schools. Featured articles include:

 

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School Lunch Lady

School Lunch Hero Day

School Lunch Hero Day is Friday, May 1—just one month away! If there was ever a time to spot light school nutrition professionals, it is now given all that they are doing to feed America’s children. During these uncertain times, you can still recognize #LunchHeroes. Need help trying to figure out how you can still celebrate as we face COVID-19 school closures? Don’t worry, SNA has tools on hand to assist you in recognizing the amazing job school nutrition professionals do every day–and even more so as they remain on the front lines to feed students nationwide!

This is the eighth year SNA has partnered with artist Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author of the “Lunch Lady” book series that started it all. We are excited to announce new artwork from Jarrett this year that you can share on social media. Download the artwork here. 
You’ll find lots of recognition ideas on the website. Get students involved by downloading our new thank-you cards—also available in Spanish. Plan to spread the word to the rest of your school, district, and community with the help of our sample press release and proclamation. Looking for some extra special recognition? Consider gifting your employees for all of their hard work with a new yellow School Lunch Hero Day apron, t-shirt or other fun merchandise from the SNA Emporium! Order your items today to ensure your heroes receive their gifts in time. We can’t wait to celebrate with you! 
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New USDA Waivers, SNA Joins Partners On Emergency Feeding Letter

USDA announced new nationwide waivers to grant states additional flexibility for meal service during COVID-19 school closures. For a complete list of nationwide waivers and FNS actions to respond to COVID-19, visit www.fns.usda.gov/disaster/pandemic/covid-19. In addition, SNA joined numerous allied groups in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service's (USDA/FNS) leadership to request additional nationwide waivers, including waiving area eligibility requirements, to ensure access to healthy meals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Association will continue to advocate on behalf of members working to safely serve students during school closures. More +

ANC 2020 Update

SNA continues to consider all options in relation to COVID-19's impact on the Association's Annual National Conference (ANC) in Nashville, Tenn., July 12-14, 2020. SNA is engaged in ongoing discussions with the Gaylord Opryland Resort and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau concerning the effect of the current global pandemic on their property, SNA's contractual obligations and ability to host ANC in July. The safety of our members, attendees, exhibitors, participants and staff is our highest priority. SNA continues to monitor the situation very closely. We appreciate your understanding and patience during this unprecedented and unpredictable time, and we will continue to keep you updated. More +

New USDA Waivers & SNA Joins Partners on Emergency Feeding Letter

March 27, 2020 
 
USDA has announced new nationwide waivers to grant states additional flexibility for meal service during COVID-19 school closures. These waivers include:
  • Nationwide Meal Pattern Waiver: FNS has provided nationwide approval for states to locally waive specific meal pattern requirements as needed to support access to nutritious meals when certain foods are not available due to the novel coronavirus. (Guidance for States on the Meal Pattern Waiver)
  • Nationwide Parent/Guardian Meal Pickup Waiver: FNS is allowing states approved for non-congregate feeding to waive the rule preventing parents and guardians from picking up meals for their children, as long as they protect accountability and integrity. (Guidance for States on the Meal Pickup Waiver)
  • Nationwide Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) Data Waiver: FNS is extending CEP election, notification and reporting and deadlines for School Year 2020-21. (Guidance for States on the CEP Waiver)

For a complete list of nationwide waivers and FNS actions to respond to COVID-19, visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/disaster/pandemic/covid-19

In addition, the School Nutrition Association joined numerous allied groups in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service’s (USDA/FNS) leadership to request additional nationwide waivers, including waiving Area Eligibility requirements, to ensure access to healthy meals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Association will continue to advocate on behalf of members working to safely serve students during school closures.
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Coronavirus Relief Bill Signed By President

To help families and individuals who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump signed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, on March 18. The bill contains several provisions to support school nutrition programs working to serve students during coronavirus-related school closures. Learn more. More +

Coronavirus Relief Bill Signed by President; Relief Grants Available for SFAs from No Kid Hungry

Last night, President Trump signed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which contains several provisions to support school nutrition programs working to serve students during coronavirus-related school closures. Notably, the bill:

  1. Provides the Secretary of Agriculture with the authority to grant states with child nutrition program waivers that may increase costs to the federal government. This will allow the Department to consider more options to help child nutrition providers continue serving children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Provides the Secretary authority to: 1) issue nationwide waivers; 2) allow all child and adult care centers to operate as non-congregate sites; and 3) waive the meal pattern requirements if there is a disruption to the food supply
  3. Authorizes a Pandemic EBT program, which will provide food assistance to families with children whose schools are impacted by extended closures five days or more due to COVID-19.

SNA has been advocating for more options for school meal programs to serve students during coronavirus-related school closures.  Schools, especially non area eligible sites, are facing various regulatory and logistical challenges in serving needy students in their communities. SNA continues to call on USDA and Congress to grant all school sites temporary eligibility to serve all children at no charge through the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option.

Additionally, SNA recognizes the health and safety of school nutrition professionals is of utmost importance. We are in active communication with the CDC and expect more guidance for school nutrition professionals soon. SNA will share this information from CDC as soon as it is released.

Relief Grants Available to School Food Authorities

School Food Authorities (SFAs) and other community organizations can seek financial assistance through emergency grants from No Kid Hungry. The grants can be used to support local efforts like home-delivered meals, grab ‘n’ go meal programs, school and community pantries, backpack programs and other initiatives. No Kid Hungry is providing $1 million in grant funding immediately. For further information and to see if you’re eligible for a grant, complete the application process from No Kid Hungry.

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Covid 19 cell

SNA Resources Amidst the Covid-19 Crisis

SNA values our members, and we are committed to helping you during this challenging time. Even though schools are closing throughout the country, we have seen some fantastic work as our members strive to provide meals to students. And we couldn’t be prouder of the efforts you are making. It might feel like the world is on hold, but we know you’re out there making a difference. In addition to the Coronavirus resources on the SNA website, we have also begun a COVID-19 webinar series to bring you the information and resources you need now. All live and on-demand webinars in the COVID-19 series are provided free to non-members. 
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SNA COVID-19 Webinar Series

SNA is hosting a series of new webinars addressing COVID-19 to support school nutrition operators and industry partners. These webinars are free for both SNA members and non-members and will be archived for on-demand viewing in the Training Zone.

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H.R. 6201 Update - USDA Issues Nationwide Child Nutrition Waivers

In our efforts to keep you updated on activities related to COVID-19 and child nutrition programs, we wanted to share with you the most recent documents issued by USDA last night. Please see below and attached.

SNA continues in its discussions with Congress and USDA to advocate on your behalf and for the students you serve. We will continue to bring you the most up to date information as it becomes available.

Below are 3 nationwide waiver approval letters for states under Section 2202 of H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act related to Child Nutrition.

(1) Waiving of the non-congregate requirement across all child nutrition programs

-This waiver applies to the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and Summer Food Service Program.

(2) Waiving of the meal service time requirements across all child nutrition programs

-This waiver applies to the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and Summer Food Service Program.

(3) Waiving of the requirement for an educational or enrichment activity when serving an afternoon meal or snack under the National School Lunch Program or Child and Adult Care Food Program.

-This waiver applies to afterschool snacks in the National School Lunch Program and at-risk afterschool meals and snacks in the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

State agencies have been provided a copy of this guidance document on this provision. State agencies should contact their respective FNS Regional Offices with questions.

For additional information regarding FNS’s response to COVID-19, please visit this link.  

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Up To Date Resources

SNA is working to provide the most up-to-date information relevant to school nutrition professionals regarding coronavirus disease. In addition, we are communicating with the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and Congress as the virus continues to spread throughout the United States. We have compiled a list of resources under Emergency Preparedness in the Learning Center, located here, that is constantly being updated as we receive new information.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Resources include information and interim guidance targeted to communities, schools and businesses and FAQs on coronavirus and children as well as healthcare professionals.

USDA

Resources include the most current list of states that have received waiver approvals, FAQs on child nutrition program meal service during COVID-19 outbreaks and Secretary Perdue’s press release announcing flexibilities to feed children when schools close.

World Health Organization (WHO)

Resources include a website, daily reports that confirm the total new cases, and key planning recommendations for mass gatherings.


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Food Supply Is Stable, Say Farmers, Retailers and Regulators

Federal meat inspectors, top grocery retailers, distributors and farm groups on Tuesday continued to stress that the food supply is holding steady as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 5,000, your host and Pro Ag's Catherine Boudreau write.

USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service, which is required by law to be present at more than 6,200 slaughterhouses across the country and employs about 7,800 inspectors, said plants are operating as normal.

Industry groups including the North American Meat Institute and USA Rice, whose products have been flying off store shelves, emphasized that there are no shortages and plentiful supplies. Fresh produce continues to flow across the Southern border from Mexico — which accounts for about 50 percent of the U.S. fruit and vegetable supply.

Retail chains like Walmart, Kroger and H-E-B have reduced store hours to give workers more time to restock high-demand products overnight, while Amazon is hiring an extra 100,000 warehouse workers to tackle increased demand for household staples, including groceries. 

"This is a demand issue, not a supply issue," said Heather Garlich, vice president of media and public relations at FMI, the food industry association formerly known as the Food Marketing Institute. "The supply chain isn't broken. The warehouses are pushing out as much inventory as possible in a 24-hour period."


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USDA Announced An Initiative To Deliver One Millions Meals Per Week

to rural students whose schools have closed because of the virus. The department is partnering with PepsiCo and the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, a food logistics company, to provide boxes with five days' worth of healthy, shelf-stable, individually packaged foods, reports our Liz Crampton.

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Congratulations to Jodi Risse and Staff

Starting Monday, Anne Arundel County Public Schools will provide lunches for students during the two-week school shutdown mandated by the state to prevent the spread of coronavirus, officials said

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SNA Implements Remote Operation Telework Plan

Thank you for your efforts to ensure that vulnerable students in your schools are being fed during this crisis. The School Nutrition Association (SNA) continues to actively monitor the spread and impact of the coronavirus. During this crisis, the well-being of our members and staff remains our top priority. Therefore, we have decided to implement our Remote Operations (Telework) Plan to ensure our work continues while also making every effort to protect the health of our staff and community.

Beginning Friday, March 13, SNA’s physical office will close, and remote operations will begin. We are making this transition as smooth as possible to limit any disruptions in our workflow. All staff will be able to access work files securely and will be able to communicate with each other, our members, vendors and other stakeholders, through email, phone and online meeting tools. In turn, you will be able to reach anyone on staff as you usually do, and you can call the Service Center at SNA and leave a message at (800) 877-8822 or by email at servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org. We will be monitoring all calls and emails and will return them as soon as possible.

SNA’s website and social media channels will also remain operational to ensure all members and stakeholders have the latest news and updates on the impact of coronavirus on school nutrition programs and efforts on the federal level to mitigate negative outcomes of the pandemic. SNA staff has been in contact with USDA and Congressional staff all week advocating for more flexibility in order to provide more access to school meals for the nearly 22 million free and reduced-price students who receive school lunch and breakfast every day. Please stay tuned to SNA’s coronavirus resource page and to our Twitter and Facebook accounts.

As a result of planning and various communications tools, we expect you will see little to no difference in our operations, regardless of the location of our staff members. You will continue to receive School Nutrition; all newsletters and our webinars will be scheduled as usual. Next Wednesday, March 18 at 2:00 pm EST, SNA will host a webinar on Serving Students School Meals during COVID-19.

SNA will continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation and will keep you posted on when we will return to our office’s physical location in Arlington, VA.

Please reach out to SNA with any questions, and remember to take care of yourself and be well.


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SNA Advocates for Guidance on Coronavirus Emergency Feeding

On Thursday, March 5th, SNA sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture advocating on behalf of members seeking guidance on emergency feeding procedures and additional options to safely serve their students in the event schools close due to Coronavirus. USDA provides guidance on using USDA Food during a pandemic. In addition, eligible School Food Authorities (SFAs) are currently allowed to serve students meals through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) during unanticipated school closures. However, several barriers prevent the effective use of this emergency feeding vehicle in the event of widespread coronavirus-related school closures. In the letter, SNA provides several suggestions for USDA’s consideration while developing a response plan including extending waiver language and program eligibility. Read more details in SNA’s letter.

Due to an abundance of care for our member’s health and safety, SNA will continue to seek the most up-to-date information about the virus. State and local public health departments are now testing and publicly reporting their cases. In the event of a discrepancy between CDC cases and cases reported by state and local public health officials, data reported by states should be considered the most up to date.


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ANC First-Timer Scholarships Available!

The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) is now accepting nominations for The ANC First-Timer Scholarship, made possible this year by a generous donation from AccuTemp Products and Asian Food Solutions. This scholarship gives SNA members, who have never attended SNA’s Annual National Conference, the opportunity to take advantage of the valuable educational and professional development opportunities to advance their careers.

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Department of Labor Consumer Price Index Comment Request

The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics is soliciting comments concerning the proposed extension of the “Consumer Price Index (CPI) Commodities and Services Survey.” Changes in the CPI impact National School Lunch and Breakfast Program reimbursements. Comments due April 21, 2020. Learn More

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USDA Announces Summer Food Service Program Study Integrity

On February 19, 2020, USDA FNS published a Federal Register notice requesting comments on the proposed records collection required for the Summer Food Service Program Integrity Study (SFSP). Comments due March 20, 2020. Learn More

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ANC 2020 Research & Best Practices Poster Showcase

SNA is providing a bonus opportunity to submit poster proposals for the School Nutrition Research & Best Practices Poster Showcase that will take place during SNA's 2020 Annual National Conference (ANC) in Nashville, Tenn. The deadline for all abstracts is March 31, 2020. Learn More

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FDA To Issue New Food Safety Plan Next Month

FDA TO ISSUE NEW FOOD SAFETY PLAN NEXT MONTH: The agency plans to roll out its Blueprint for a New Era of Smarter Food Safety in the first half of March, according to Frank Yiannas, deputy commissioner for food policy and response. The FDA's goal is to reduce rates of foodborne illnesses — which have remained flat in recent years — in part by modernizing the way the agency conducts investigations so it can more quickly pinpoint the origin of contamination, Yiannas said during an interview with POLITICO on Thursday.

He described traceability as the "Achilles heel" of the food system. It can be improved through new technology to track supply chains, such as blockchain, sensors and artificial intelligence. "Rapid traceability will allow us to get boots on the ground really fast ... and do a root cause analysis," he said. "When you show up months later, it's too late. You may never uncover the route of contamination." 

The FDA has yet to explain how the romaine lettuce implicated in three E. coli outbreaks last year became tainted. The agency was able to identify a common farm with multiple fields among the outbreaks in the lower Salinas Valley. That investigation is still ongoing, and the FDA last month lifted a sweeping warning to consumers to avoid eating the green. The outbreak caused 188 illnesses but no deaths were reported. 

Aside from traceability, the blueprint will also touch on data analysis tools that can help the FDA identify potential food safety risks, how the agency can adapt its work to evolving food supply chains — like e-commerce — and educating farmers, food companies and consumers about best practices to prevent foodborne illnesses.

The agency hasn't estimated how much additional funding it might need to implement its new 10-year vision, Yiannas said, but Congress in the last two federal spending packages allocated money for tech-enabled traceability.


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Bill May Fund School Nutrition Education Programs

The Food and Nutrition Education in Schools Act of 2020, a bipartisan bill introduced in the US Senate, would create a pilot program to fund projects that teach students about nutrition and connect them with healthful food practices. Priority in funding would be given to high-needs schools, including those in which 40% of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

Full Story: The Hill (2/13) 


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President Trump Releases Fiscal 2021 Budget Proposal

On February 10, 2020, the White House released the 2021 President’s Budget. The budget proposes cuts to several agencies, including an 8 percent reduction for the Agriculture Department, with the goal to lower federal spending by $4.4 trillion over the next decade. The President’s annual budget request kicks off the FY 2021 budget process. Next, Congress will hold hearings to question Administration officials about their requests and develop their own budget plan, called a “budget resolution.” SNA will continue to provide updates as developments occur. View SNA’s one-pager on the complete budget process for more information.

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US House Committee on Oversight and Reform Hearing

On February 6, 2020, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee held a hearing titled, A Threat to America’s Children: The Trump Administration’s Proposed Changes to Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNA submitted comments on the Proposed Rule on November 1, sharing concerns that close to one million children will lose direct certification for free school meals. You can share your input with SNA and read stories on the Proposed Rule’s impact on SNA’s Action Network.

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Funds For Food Educators

Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) are teaming up on legislation aimed at helping teach young students about healthy eating. The measure, which the senators plan to introduce today, would offer grants to local education agencies to fund projects that include hiring full-time nutritional educators. Booker said in a statement that a lack of access to healthy food, especially in underserved communities, is frequently a detriment to academic performance.

Programs backed by grant funding under the bill would be required to incorporate hands-on activities for students like setting up school gardens, taste testing and farm-to-school efforts. The legislation would prioritize schools in neighborhoods with high rates of childhood diet-related illnesses or where 40 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

Kumar Chandran, policy director at FoodCorps, said the measure would help more kids "know what healthy food is, care where it comes from and eat it every day." The plan is also backed by the American Heart Association, the National Farm to School Network and other school and nutrition groups.

The backdrop: The bipartisan effort comes as the Agriculture Department is moving to chip away at school nutrition standards and crack down on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, including a rule that would cause some 982,000 low-income students to lose their automatic access to free school meals.

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No One Eats Alone

No One Eats Alone Day (February 14) was created to help combat feelings of isolation and loneliness that are felt by children each day at school lunch. Learn more about this event and how you can stand against social isolation and bullying! Read More

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The Forthcoming Block Grant Program Comes With A New Name

'Healthy Adult Opportunity' — but retains the original mission long sought by conservatives: allowing states to cap a portion of their spending on Medicaid, a radical change in how the safety net health program is financed." POLITICO

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SNA's Unpaid Meals Working Group Meets in Arlington

January 23rd and 24th, SNA hosted a two-day Unpaid Meals Working Group session attended by stakeholders from across the country. Participants worked together to define the source of and seek solutions for the growing national issue of unpaid school meal debt. Attendees included SNA members, USDA professionals, State Agency Directors and representatives of the Association of School Business Officials and The Superintendents Association. SNA recognizes that unpaid meal debt is a complex issue that must be addressed through cross-collaboration between all impacted parties. Hear updates on the unpaid meal debt effort at #LAC2020 and stay tuned for more resources including a white paper and advocacy strategies.

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The School Food Recovery Act

On January 15, 2020, Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-01) introduced H.R. 5607, the School Food Recovery Act. This bill establishes a grant program for schools to cut cafeteria food waste and to simultaneously reduce environmental impacts and improve student nutrition.

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Proposed School Meal Flexibilities: Read Summaries and Share Your Input

USDA recently released proposed regulations intended to simplify meal service and monitoring requirements in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. SNA has provided summaries and is collecting member feedbackon these proposed changes as it prepares the Association’s official comments in response to the proposed rule.

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Increase Breakfast Participation: Promote NSBW!

The National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) kick-off on March 2 is fast approaching! Celebrate with this year's cosmic theme, “School Breakfast: Out of this World.” Learn More

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Perdue Talks With Farm Leaders

The USDA chief is in Europe this week, including visits to Rome and the Netherlands. On Monday, Perdue met with farm ministers in Brusselsto discuss the prospects for a partial trade agreement, which President Donald Trump and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have both said could come together quickly.

After sitting down with EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan, Perdue told reporters there won't be any deal unless Europe agrees to painful concessions on food standards — most notably, allowing acid-rinsed chicken, writes POLITICO Europe's Jakob Hanke.

Hogan has said the EU could compromise on less controversial food and ag issues, like restrictions on apples, pears and molluscs. But Perdue said those smaller measures won't cut it: "We're not going to get there with apples and pears and shellfish."

Perdue also argued that U.S. poultry farmers have shifted to using a chemical called peracetic acid, which he said was essentially "vinegar," instead of chlorine. "To say that's unsafe or not to be used, we don't think there's a basis for that in sound science," he said.


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SNA Summary on Proposed Rule on Summer Meal Flexibilities

On Friday, January 17, 2020, USDA announced a proposed rule titled “Streamlining Program Requirements and Improving Integrity in the Summer Food Service Program.” SNA has released a new summary of the proposal and is collecting SNA member feedback as the Public Policy and Legislation Committee prepares to discuss and draft the Association’s official comments in response to the rule.

Once SNA has submitted comments to USDA on the proposed rule, we will notify members, so you will have an opportunity to share the Association’s perspective as part of your own individual comments to USDA on the rule. SNA members are encouraged to review the summaryshare your input with SNA and stay tuned to SchoolNutrition.org for SNA’s official comments and the opportunity to have your voice heard as part of the rulemaking process.


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SNA Summary & Statement on Proposed Rule on School Meal Flexibilities

On Friday, January 17, 2020, during a roundtable discussion on school nutrition issues, US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the release of a proposed rule titled “Simplifying Meal Service and Monitoring Requirements in the National School Lunch and National School Breakfast Programs.” SNA has released a new summary of the proposal and is collecting SNA member feedback as the Public Policy and Legislation Committee prepares to discuss and draft the Association’s official comments in response to the rule.

Once SNA has submitted comments to USDA on the proposed rule, we will notify members, so you will have an opportunity to share the Association’s perspective as part of your own individual comments to USDA on the rule. In the meantime, SNA has released a statement addressing key issues and clarifying misconceptions about the proposed changes to school meal patterns.

SNA members are encouraged to review the summary and statementshare your input with SNA and stay tuned to SchoolNutrition.org for SNA’s official comments and the opportunity to have your voice heard as part of the rulemaking process.

SNA is finalizing a summary of the proposed rule on summer meal flexibilities and will share it with members next week.


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Plant-Based Diets

The chancellor of Texas A&M University requested that Harvard University investigate two of its nutrition researchers for their involvement with a group that promotes plant-based diets as part of a healthy lifestyle. The chancellor's request follows a report in JAMA last week documenting how the True Health Initiative called for the retraction of a recent study that determined the scientific evidence on red meat consumption is too weak to recommend adults eat less of it — fueling a debate over conflicts of interest and the quality of nutrition research.

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School Nutrition Official Expects Less Food Waste Under New Rules

The USDA's new nutrition standards for school lunches should help curb food waste by requiring smaller portions of fruits and vegetables, says Doug Wordell, nutrition services director for Spokane Public Schools in Washington state. Registered dietitian Natalie Tauzin, a policy and systems advocate with the Spokane Regional Health District, says giving students more time to eat and letting them have recess before lunch also can reduce food waste.

The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) (free content) (1/17) 


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Meat Recalls

Meanwhile, the total number of recalls of FDA-regulated products like produce, seafood and processed foods have dropped —particularly after new Food Safety Modernization Act rules took effect in 2016. Since that year, recalls fell by 34 percent to 517. Of that total, 173 were Class I. 

"[T]he contrasting trends in food safety between the two agencies make it clear additional action is necessary, especially as Americans continue to eat significant amounts of meat," U.S. PIRG said in the report. The group noted that even though the total number of poultry and pork recalls didn't rise last year, they encompassed a larger volume of product compared with 2018 — potentially exposing a greater number of consumers to harm.

Eradicating salmonella in meat: Over the weekend, well-known food safety lawyer Bill Marler and several consumer advocacy groups (not including U.S. PIRG) requested that USDA classify salmonella — the most common foodborne pathogen — as an adulterant. This would give the department the authority to issue mandatory recalls and stop inspection lines, the Washington Post reported.

USDA has previously denied two similar petitions, in part due to a 2001 court case that ruled the department didn't have the authority to shut down meatpacking plants over repeated salmonella contamination because it is a naturally occurring bacteria that can be killed during cooking.


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Bill to Reduce Food Waste

House members filed a bipartisan bill to reduce food waste in school cafeterias through a new USDA grant program. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that U.S. schools waste about $1.7 billion or 540,000 tons of food per year, not counting milk.

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NSBW: March 2-6, 2020

March 2 kicks off National School Breakfast Week (NSBW)— get ready to energize students and stakeholders with the #NSBW2020 theme, “School Breakfast: Out of this World.” To get a head start on promoting #NSBW2020, blast off into the Marketing and PR resources page to download various items such as the #NSBW2020 Infographic, Sample Guest Invitation Letter; Facebook and Instagram shareable content and more.

(You can also download the Cafeteria Visits 101 Toolkit if you plan on inviting policymakers to your school).

If you want to have a cosmic blueprint of how to further market this year’s NSBW, you can also download the NSBW Activity Sheets to engage students along with the NSBW 2020 Toolkit to help you get started on your promotion ideas.

The official #NSBW2020 Contest is open now through Wednesday, February 12th! It’s quick and easy to enter, simply fill out your contest information and answer four questions about your #NSBW19 plans to be automatically entered in the contest. At the conclusion of the contest, three winners will each receive a $50 SNA Emporium Shop gift certificate that can be used to promote your program during NSBW! Read the official contest rules and enter today!

You and your staff can take your school celebration to another level, by visiting the SNA Emporium and shopping for the #NSBW2020 themed resources available to ensure you show how your breakfast program is taking off into new territory! From T-shirts and aprons to stickers and decorations for your cafeteria, your #NSBW2020 celebrations are bound to be… out of this world!

Don’t forget to request artwork and downloadable logos online early so you can use these images on menus, social media, in newsletters and on your website.

Happy planning!


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2020 Guidelines

USDA and HHS this year will publish the latest edition of the government's official advice for eating healthy, updated every five years. Among the issues to watch: A new coalition of low-carb advocates is pushing for the 2020 guidelines to highlight the benefits of cutting back on foods like pasta and bread.

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Dietary Guidelines on Deck

USDA and HHS this year will publish the latest edition of the government's official advice for eating healthy, updated every five years. Among the issues to watch: A new coalition of low-carb advocates is pushing for the 2020 guidelines to highlight the benefits of cutting back on foods like pasta and bread.

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New FDA Rules for Food Labeling Took Effect on Jan. 1, Requiring More Nutritional Info on Packaging

Food makers are now required to show a side-by-side comparison of the nutritional value of a single serving versus an entire package, reports POLITICO's Oma Seddiq.The agency will allow exemptions for packaged food products that aren't big enough to display the newly required information.

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New FDA Food Labels Have More Portion Information

The FDA's new nutrition labeling requirements began with the new year and feature side-by-side columns showing nutrition information for one serving and for the entire package. Registered dietitian nutritionist Beth Kitchin of the University of Alabama said she hopes the changes will get people more interested in reading food labels and prompt them to compare nutrition information before making a purchase.

ABC News (1/1) 


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Federal Register: SY2020-2021 Income Eligibility Guidelines

The USDA has posted income eligibility guidelines to be used in determining eligibility for free and reduced price meals and free milk effective from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

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SNA Announces the +1 Membership Challenge

It’s a new year and we have a new challenge for you. SNA is excited to announce the official launch of the all-new +1 Membership Challenge! As a valued Star Club member, we invite you to participate in this new recruitment campaign, as it’s a wonderful opportunity to show your support for SNA and continue earning great incentives for recruiting new members.

The Challenge is simple (and fun!):

  1. Share your reason for being an SNA member – using the social media tools.
  2. Recruit at least 1 new member – your +1.
  3. Grow your Star Club credits!

As a member of SNA’s exclusive Star Club, you have the added bonus of being able to increase your Star Club credits and level up, earning you great prizes and recognition at the state and national SNA levels. Happy recruiting!

Take the +1 Membership Challenge!

First, watch the official campaign launch video from SNA National President, Gay Anderson.

Then visit the SNA Website for more details on the +1 Membership Challenge and find Challenge Materials. Contact us at membership@schoolnutrition.org if you have any questions.


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The White House Sent the Senate Its Nomination of Brandon Lipps to be USDA Undersecretary

The White House sent the Senate its nomination of Brandon Lipps to be USDA undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. Lipps has served as administrator and acting deputy undersecretary of the division since July 2017.

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Is Whole Milk Better For Kids?

Children who drink milk with higher fat content -- such as whole milk -- may be less likely to be obese, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study's authors assert these findings may contradict some international guidelines that suggest reduced-fat milk for children. Education Dive (1/6) 

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Julian Castro Unveils Anti-Hunger Plan

Presidential Candidate Julian Castro announced his People First Plan to End Hunger in America. In addition to expanding SNAP and WIC, the widely encompassing plan increases school meal reimbursement rates, lowers the Identified Student Percentage threshold to participate in CEP to zero percent, and expands summer meals. The plan also rolls back meal pattern flexibilities granted since passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. In addition, the Plan expands certain tax credits and benefits and establishes universal pre-K and childcare.

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FNS Professional Standards Training Tracker Tool

On February 20, USDA FNS published a comment request on a previously approved record collection for state agencies to record, track and manage the required training hours in four major areas (Nutrition, Operations, Administration, Communications and Marketing). Comments due April 20, 2020. Learn More

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Setting the Agenda: SNA Releases 2020 Research Agenda

SNA has published its 2020 Research Agenda, outlining five of the highest priority research topics for the school nutrition field going into 2020. Read More

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The School Modernization and Efficient Access to Lunches for Students Act of 2019

On December 3, 2019, Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH11) introduced the School Modernization and Efficient Access to Lunches for Students Act of 2019 or School MEALS Act. H.R. 5283 expands access to school nutrition programs through grants, technical assistance and administrative changes. In a press release, Representative Fudge stated, “Improvements to direct certification and community eligibility will help to reduce barriers that prevent eligible students from receiving the nutritious school meals they deserve.” This bill has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor. You can find more information on school nutrition program federal bills on SNA’s Action Network.

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The Expanding Access to School Meals Act

On December 5, 2019, Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH13) introduced H.R. 5308, the Expanding Access to School Meals Act. The bill expands the poverty threshold for free school lunch and breakfast, eliminates the reduced-price category, expands CEP and allows states to use Medicaid and CHIP participation data to directly certify students. This bill has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor. You can find more information on school nutrition program federal bills on SNA’s Action Network.

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NSBW Planning is Ready for Takeoff!

Mark your calendar for National School Breakfast Week(NSBW)—March 2-6, 2020 and pump up students and stakeholders with an “Out of this World” campaign! The theme for #NSBW2020 is “School Breakfast: Out of this World,” so start planning your NSBW celebration today by downloading the NSBW 2020 Toolkit to help you get started on your promotion ideas. Another way to get your breakfast program ready for takeoff, is to visit the SNA Emporium and shop for the #NSBW2020-themed resources available to ensure you show how your breakfast program is blasting off into new territory!

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SNA Launches Research Initiative On Universal Meals

Studies have shown that school meals contribute to the health, attentiveness, behavior and academic achievement of students. SNA believes all students should have equal access to nutritious school meals, and that is why we are excited to announce a new research initiative that will evaluate the potential social benefits and costs of expanding the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, to serve all students at no charge.

Learn More


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SNA: Combatting Outdated Stereotypes Of School Meals

SNA recently communicated with Sweetgreen founder Nicolas Jammet and called on the company to stop spreading misconceptions about the quality of school meals. Read More

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Same Address, Fresh New Look For The PBIC

Visit the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom (PBIC) website to see the fresh new look, complete with a brand-new logo. The Partners have added new resources, like case studies and videos, and now you can filter resources by topic and stakeholder role for greater ease of use. Visit them today at http://breakfastintheclassroom.org.

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2020 FAME Award Winners Announced

SNA extends congratulations to the four winners of the 2020 FAME (Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence) Awards. The FAME Awards ceremony will be held in conjunction with SNA’s School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIC) in Indian Wells, Calif., on January 12, 2020. Read More

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Donate To SNF With Amazon Smile This Holiday Season

Did you know that you can support the School Nutrition Foundation simply by shopping on Amazon? Through AmazonSmile, SNF will get a percentage of the purchase price of everything you order. There is no cost to you or to the Foundation. Watch this short tutorial and learn how to sign up today.

 

Read The Fall 2019 Edition Of The Journal Of Child Nutrition & Management

The Fall 2019 edition of the Journal of Child Nutrition & Management delves deep into the complex topic of special diets with research-based and thought-provoking articles to support those in school foodservice. Articles include a training review on the role of food sensitivities to meet the needs of students with intolerances and other concerns; research about resources to provide texture-modified diets for special needs children with developmental disorders and on perceptions of menu planners of costs in making meal accommodations; and a behind-the-scenes look at a Washington D.C. school that introduced vegan entrees as part of their lunch menus.

 

SNA Submits Comment On School Meals Eligibility Under Proposed SNAP Rule

On November 1, 2019, SNA submitted its comment letter on the Proposed Rule, Revision of Categorical Eligibility; Reopening of Comment Period. Read More

 

Why We Don't Know What To Eat To Stay Healthy

Nutrition research is an afterthought in Washington even though diet-related diseases like obesity and Type 2 diabetes are skyrocketing, threatening the fiscal sustainability of the U.S. health care system, reports your host and Pro Ag's Helena Bottemiller Evich.

A POLITICO analysis of federal budget documents dating back decades reveals that NIH and USDA, as a share of their overall research dollars, are shrinking investments in nutrition. NIH in 2018 invested $1.8 billion, or just under 5 percent of its total budget. USDA's Agricultural Research Service spends much less: Just $88 million was devoted to nutrition last year, or a little more than 7 percent of its overall research portfolio — virtually the same as in 1983 when adjusted for inflation.

To boot, there's a lack of federal leadership on nutrition research, no major lobbying force on Capitol Hill, and a nutrition science community that finds itself fighting over whether public health enemy No. 1 is processed carbs or fat or sodium or sugar. Meanwhile, consumers get a regular dose of whiplash on diet advice: One day coffee is healthy, the next it's not; red wine is good for your heart, or maybe not; cheese is either a healthy source of protein and calcium, or a dangerous overdose of fat and salt.

This has prompted calls for establishing a National Institute of Nutrition, to be housed under NIH. Leading that effort is Joon Yun, a Silicon Valley investor better known for putting up millions to spur innovations to end aging. He and two high-profile allies — Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of Tufts University's nutrition school, and David Kessler, who led the FDA during the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations — are trying to build momentum on Capitol Hill.

"I don't think we can afford not to have a National Institute of Nutrition," Yun said. Pros, read the profile from yours truly and Helena here.

 

Maryland's Own Gary Childress...

VOTE FOR GARY FOR MIDEAST REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE!

2020 SNA Election Ballot Announcement

The SNA Leadership Development Committee met during the 2019 Fall Committee Days in Alexandria, Va., last week to review nominations for positions on the SNA Board of Directors and Leadership Development Committee. After reviewing the biographical information on each candidate, as well as supporting documents such as the candidate’s goals and the recommendations submitted by colleagues on leadership experience and competencies, the Committee selected a slate for the 2020 election.

SNA is pleased to announce the 2020 election ballot:

Candidates for the six open positions on the Board of Directors:

 

Vice President

Lori Adkins, SNS, Oakland Schools, MI

Sara Gasiorowski, SNS, MSD of Wayne Township, Indianapolis, IN

 

Secretary/Treasurer

Stephanie Dillard, SNS, Geneva County Board of Education, Geneva, AL

Micheline Piekarski, MSM, SNS, Oak Park & River Forest HS #200, Oak Park, IL

 

Mideast Regional Director

Gary Childress, SNS, Harford County Public Schools, Forest Hill, MD

Jill Riggs, Penn Harris Madison, Mishawaka, IN

 

Midwest Regional Director

Noah Atlas, SNS, Anoka-Hennepin School District, Anoka, MN

Lynelle Johnson, SNS, Williston Public School District #1, Williston, ND

 

Southwest Regional Director

Teresa Brown, MS, RD, LDN, SNS, St. Charles Parish Public Schools, Luling, LA

Cindy Jones, Olathe Public Schools, Olathe, KS

 

At Large Director

Lori Danella, SNS, Lees Summit R7, Lees Summit, MO

Anne Leavens, SNS, Central Point School District #6, Central Point, OR

 

Candidates for the four open positions on the Leadership Development Committee:

 

Mideast Regional Representative

Elizabeth Foland, MS, RD, Indiana Department of Education, Indianapolis, IN

 

Midwest Regional Representative

LaRae Doll, SNS, Johnston Community School District, Johnston, IA

Deborah Egeland, SNS, ND Department of Public Instruction, Bismarck, ND

 

Southeast Region Representative

Todd Bedenbaugh, District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties, Irmo, SC

Timikel Sharpe, MS, Bibb County School District, Macon, GA

 

West Region Representative

Dean Gallegos, Bernalillo Public Schools, Bernalillo, NM

Kelly Orton, SNS, Salt Lake City School District, Salt Lake City, UT

Biographies of candidates selected for the ballot will be available to view online in early January 2020. The election will be held February 15-29, 2020.

The elected candidates for the positions on the Board of Directors will be installed in July 2020 at ANC. The elected candidates for positions on the Leadership Development Committee begin their terms on March 1, 2020 to coincide with the annual nominations and election calendar.

Congratulations and good luck to all the ballot candidates!

 

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."

 

Get Ready For the SNA Compensation Survey

SNA is conducting its first compensation survey on the school nutrition workforce since 2006. The objective of this survey is to collect data on salaries and benefits to be used for benchmarking purposes by member Directors. We hope you will participate in this important survey by contributing data on your district!

A unique link to the survey will be emailed directly to you from The School Nutrition Association at 9 AM on the morning of Monday, October 21st.

Having a unique link will allow you to start, stop, and re-start the survey. This means that you will not need to complete this survey in one sitting—you can stop and start by clicking on your unique link. To maintain the security of your salary data, do not share your link with anyone else. Please keep this email or bookmark your unique link so you can re-enter the survey.

You will need to know the following information to complete the survey:

  • Salary and benefits information for both district and school-level positions. Click here to view job descriptions of all the district and school-level positions
  • RD, Certificate and SNS credential requirements and/or pay supplements/benefits for specific positions
  • The total budget for your school nutrition program, and the percentage of the budget dedicated to salaries and benefits
  • Overtime pay eligibility for specific positions
  • Number of management-level, full-time non-management-level, and part-time non-management employees
  • Number of temporary, substitute or contract staff
  • Turnover rate for management-level, and full-time/part-time non-management level employees
  • Benefits information including types of retirement/pension benefits offered, health insurance offerings (employee only, employee+spouse/partner, employee plus family, all the above), and typical amount of health insurance premium paid by district.

If you have this information ready when you sit down to complete the survey, it typically takes 15 – 25 minutes to complete this survey.

Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a drawing for a free registration to the SNA 2020 conference of their choice, as well as a drawing for one of five $20 gift cards.

If you have any questions about this survey, please contact Donovan Lessard, Research Manager at SNA, at 703 824 3000, extension 156, or dlessard@schoolnutrition.org.

 

 

Policy Update

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 requirementsclarification on milk and water requirements; and updates to guidance on smoothies and salad bars in schools.

 

 

Apply Today for a Professional Development Conference Scholarship or Equipment Grant

The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) is now accepting applications for scholarships! Apply for a SNA Conference Scholarship for a chance to earn $1,000 to help cover the costs to attend SNA’s School Nutrition Industry Conference and Legislative Action Conference.

 

  • 6 for SNIC 2020 (3 of the scholarships will be for First Timers only)
  • 6 for LAC 2020 (3 of the scholarships will be for First Timers only)

 

Employee and Manager level members with a passion for advocacy can also apply for the Josephine Martin National Policy Fellowship.

 

Visit this link to apply for a SNA Conference Scholarship! Applications are due online by November 30th and require a signed approval form from your supervisor. You must be an SNA member for at least 2 years to be eligible.

 

Want to earn your degree? SNF is also accepting applications for Professional Development Scholarships to help cover the costs of tuition and books for a degree in a school nutrition related field.

New this year, eligible applicants have the opportunity to win one of three equipment grants! These three grants are the Winston Equipment Grant, the Vulcan/Hobart Equipment Grant, and the Collection Grant. SNF is now accepting applications for the SNF Equipment Grants. If your kitchen needs new equipment, consider applying today!

For questions, please contact scholarships@schoolnutrition.org.

 

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.

 

Share Your Thoughts: SNA's 2020 Position Paper

SNA is preparing to craft its 2020 Position Paper, and it’s time to make your voice heard! Please provide your input on the school nutrition program challenges you believe should be addressed in SNA's 2020 Position Paper. We would like to hear from YOU about what can be done here in Washington, D.C., to support school nutrition professionals nationwide. SNA’s Public Policy and Legislation Committee will meet to draft the Paper on December 9th and your responses will determine what your regional committee representative will discuss during the drafting.

The deadline to submit is November 23, 2019. If you have any questions, please reach out to SNA’s Government Affairs and Media Relations team at advocacy@schoolnutrition.org.

 

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

 

Register Now For Upcoming Fall Webinars

Fall into SNA's Webinar Wednesdays for all the latest and greatest on school nutrition trends. Register now and earn CEUs while you learn. Learn More

 

SNA Comments on State Administrative Expense Funds and Summer Food Service Programs

SNA recently submitted its comments in reply to the Federal Register notice, Submission for OMB Review; State Administrative Expense (SAE) Funds and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Read More

 

How to Share Your #NSLW19 Lunch Playlist with Parents

Celebrations for National School Lunch Week 2019 (NSLW) are less than two weeks away so be sure to get parents on-board with your #SchoolLunchPlaylists during #NSLW19! Encourage them to join the conversation, have lunch with their child and engage your school further by using the following resources from SNA.

Studies show that school lunches are more likely to include fruit, vegetables, and dairy than those from home. This information is in the fun new NSLW 2019 Infographic available in English and Spanish.

Another helpful tool with ideas and tips to get your crowd of parents excited about what’s on the menu for their child’s school lunch playlist is the NSLW 2019 Toolkit. Ideas and tips include giving parents a free lunch coupon for an upcoming meal to providing parents with a family-sized recipe of a student-favorite menu item to make at home! You’ll find the NSLW 2019 Infographic, Toolkit and new Activity Sheets in English and Spanish for your students on the Toolkit & Handouts page here!

Amplify your engagement further by inviting parents to enjoy healthy lunch options with their child on National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day (Wednesday, October 16, 2019), or any other day that works for them. As parents make plans to attend lunch with their child, encourage them to also review the lunch menu as well as follow the SNA TrayTalk Facebook page and blog for school lunch innovations and success stories.

SNA resources have bonus features to create a NSLW 2019 playlist full of lunch hitmakers. Before time runs out, be sure to purchase your “playlist” merchandise from the SNA Emporium to promote NSLW. Also, you have until Monday, October 7 to enter the NSLW 2019 Contest for a chance to win top of the chart essentials for your school lunch programs.

No matter how you inform parents about NSLW 2019, make sure to keep them in rhythm with their child’s school lunch playlist but most of all, have fun and share your celebrations with us on social media!
 

 

Register for the Third Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Meeting and View New & Updated Protocols

The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee will hold its third meeting October 24 and 25 in Washington, D.C. The meeting will be available to attend in-person or view by webcast. Register for the third meeting now.

Please note: Registration for in-person attendance closes on Friday, October 18, at 5:00PM EDT.

Read post

 

Apply Today for a Professional Development & Conference Scholarship

The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) is now accepting applications for scholarships! Apply for a SNA Conference Scholarship for a chance to earn $1,000 to help cover the costs to attend SNA’s School Nutrition Industry Conferenceand Legislative Action Conference. SNF is also accepting applications for Professional Development Scholarships to help cover the costs of tuition and books for a degree in a school nutrition-related field. Learn More

 

SNF Equipment Grants for 2020

The School Nutrition Foundation is teaming up with more industry partners than ever before to provide new kitchen equipment to deserving districts! Apply now for the 2020 SNF Equipment Grant Program, featuring a common application for not one but THREE grants! Learn More

 

Marketing & PR Resources

Cook up a complete NSLW promotional plan by adding marketing and PR resources to the mix. View Resources

 

Tools & Resources

Start by downloading the NSLW 2019 toolkit for 14 pages of resources and ideas. Also, be sure to read the #NSLW19 article in School Nutrition’s April 2019 issue for a closer look at this year’s celebration. View Resources

 

Anne DeCesaro Joined USDA's Office of the Undersecretary

Anne DeCesaro joined USDA's office of the undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services. DeCesaro was previously the Republican staff director for the House Ways and Means Worker and Family Support Subcommittee.

 

MD Public Schools Offer More Local Food In Meals

Public schools across Maryland will serve more local fruits and vegetables in school meals this week as part of a farm-to-table program. The program helps provide nutritious food for students and teaches them about gardening and nutrition.

WBOC-TV (Salisbury, Md.) (10/1) 

 

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.

DATES:

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.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

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.

Adjusted Payments

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).

Payment Chart

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 Categorial 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.

 

National School Lunch Week - Enter the #NSLW19 Contest For You Chance to Win!

We know there is no shortage of creativity and talent among SNA members when it comes to promoting their amazing school lunch programs during National School Lunch Week. So make sure you enter the #NSLW19 Contest in the next 3 weeks! Monday, October 7 is the deadline to amplify your chance to win hitmaking essentials for your school lunch program! Prizes include a free $50 Emporium Gift Card to promote your program (2 will be awarded) or a complimentary registration for SNA’s new chef-taught Culinary Skills online training module in the Training Zone.

Entering the contest is as easy as creating a playlist! Simply fill in your information, share with us your #NSLW19 plans and the resources you plan to use, and tell us how much you think school participation will increase in your school or district during NSLW!

As you ramp up your plans, don’t wait until the last minute to place your orders for Emporium Playlist merchandise—popular items often sell out! View and download the Emporium catalog and print the order form to fax in your order, order online 24-7 or call Phone # 1-800-728-0728.

National School Lunch Week is just one month away—we can’t wait to see what you have planned!

 

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

 

Chocolate Milk

New York City is considering banning chocolate milk in public schools, citing health concerns, specifically sugar content, as the driving force, the New York Post writesMany parents and students complain that such a ban doesn't address the highly processed foods served in schools.

 

SNAP Change Would Affect Free School Meals

The proposed changes to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eventually would affect free school meal programs by limiting who could be considered under the Community Eligibility Provision. A coalition of 70 mayors recently sent a letter to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service saying the proposal would harm the health of children, in part, by removing their access to free school meals.

Education Dive (8/29) 

 

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.

Reuters (8/27)  

 

Trade Mitigation Means Free Food For Schools

Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland this fall is expecting $70,000 in free foods, including kidney beans, oranges and apples, as part of a trade mitigation program linked to the Trump administration's trade disputes with other countries. How to use the extra food can be a challenge for some schools that plan meals in advance, however, so schools have not taken full advantage of the $100 million in trade mitigation foods available this fall, the USDA said.

 

Equip Yourself for the New School Year with all New Webinar Wednesdays

As summer break is winding down, Webinar Wednesdays are revving up. We've been excited about these upcoming webinars all summer long! On August 28, hear how three districts listened to the outcry from parents and students requesting a greener cafeteria, and responded with new products that were more sustainable and less wasteful. Missed last week's event? Check out our on-demand page to access over 50 recorded webinars in all key areas.

 

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
  • Quiz
  • 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.

 

Start Promoting Your NSLW Playlist

With National School Lunch Week 2019 (NSLW) being eight weeks away—starting October 14—there is still time to reach parents and other stakeholders in the community. As we gear up for #NSLW19, create social buzz by developing your social media plan and promoting your #SchoolLunchPlaylist.

We’ve got you covered on marketing materials and resources to use in several ways in the community and on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Gain momentum beyond the cafeteria in the weeks leading up to #NSLW19 by doing the following:

  1. Share key information with parents.

Download and print copies or share the electronic version of the #NSLW19 Infographic which includes information about the school lunch program and healthy options available. You can also share an image of this on social media.

  1. Spread the word on social media.
  • Change your social media profile image to the NSLW logo by downloading the artwork.
  • The Social Media Tips Sheet includes tips on photo use for social sharing and dos and don’ts to help make your plan successful.
  • Use the Facebook Cover Image on your school or district’s Facebook page.
  • Post this fun Instagram Meme on your school or district’s Instagram account.
  • Include fun pictures of you and your staff in your #SchoolLunchPlaylist gear on all your social media platforms.
  1. Use these hashtags to further promote NSLW 2019 and keep the conversation going.

#NSLW19, #SchoolLunchPlaylist, #SchoolLunch, #SchoolLunchRocks, #SchoolLunchHits

  1. Reach out to local officials.

Fill in your school or district’s information on the Official Proclamation document and request that the mayor or city council proclaim it is National School Lunch Week in your city or town. And, invite them to have lunch with the students!

  1. Coming Soon! School Lunch: What’s on Your Playlist? Presentations

Watch for these pre-designed PowerPoint presentations that you can customize to help you promote NSLW19. You can find them on our NSLW Marketing & PR Resources page when they become available!

Don’t forget! The new SNA Emporium Catalog with hot new School Lunch Playlist merchandise is now available and ready to download. You can also shop online 24-7 to 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.

Don’t miss out on the chance to make some noise about what’s on your #SchoolLunchPlaylist and start creating the buzz today!

 

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. 

 

Policy Update

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.”

 

Call For 2020 SNA Election Nominations

The 2020 SNA election nominations process is open! SNA needs members with strong leadership skills, outstanding professional achievements, and a record of active participation in their state association and SNA to lead the association in the future. The following positions are now open, so hurry and get your name in or nominate a SNA colleague!

Board of Directors:

  • Vice President
  • Secretary/Treasurer
  • Mideast Regional Director
  • Midwest Regional Director
  • Southwest Regional Director
  • At Large Director

Leadership Development Committee:

  • Mideast Region Representative
  • Midwest Region Representative
  • Southeast Region Representative
  • West Region Representative

Nomination Process

Please consider the leadership talent you see and work with in your state, your region, or at the national level, and submit a nomination for one or more of the open positions or submit your own name for nomination! The Call for Nominations and Recommendation forms are on the SNA website at www.schoolnutrition.org/LeadershipOpp. Which is also where you’ll find everything you need to know if you are considering a national leadership opportunity.

Nominations are due Monday, September 30, 2019.

The Leadership Development Committee, chaired by SNA Past President Lynn Harvey, will meet at Committee Days in October to select the candidate slate for the 2020 election. The selected candidate will be announced following Committee Days.

The election is February 15-29, 2020.

Contacts

If you have any questions, please contact Lynn Harvey via email at lynn.harvey@dpi.nc.gov or by phone at (919) 807-3506 or Rhea Steele, SNA Staff Liaison, Leadership Development Committee via email at rsteele@schoolnutrition.org or by phone at (800) 877-8822, ext. 117.

 

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.

 

Information Collection on Participation in the NSLP

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced an agency information collection regarding participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Learn More

 

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 Agriculture Teachers Earn Recognition

Two teachers from a Maryland high school recently were honored for the agriculture program that they oversee. Participating students learn the basics about horticulture and animal science in the classroom and also practice their skills through work-based experiences.

WDVM-TV (Hagerstown, Md.) (7/22) 

 

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)  

 

The Countdown to National School Lunch Week!

National School Lunch Week (NSLW) 2019 kicks off on October 14. Look to SNA for helpful resources to promote your program. Also, don't forget to shop the SNA Emporium for official "What's on Your Playlist?" merchandise, including apparel, posters, decorations, and more! Visit Emporium

 

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. Learn More

 

USDA To Release Rule To Crack Down On SNAP Eligibility

The Trump administration will announce today it's seeking to rein in broad-based categorical eligibility in SNAP  a significant change to the program that would affect millions of recipients.

Wonky change, big impact: Broad-based cat-el, as it's known, is little understood but widely used to provide benefits to a broader array of low-income households than are traditionally eligible for SNAP. The policy allows states to confer SNAP eligibility to households if they're receiving a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefit of some kind. The option allows states to get around the typical asset limits, which helps make more low-income households eligible.

By the numbers: Curbing broad-based cat-el under the proposed rule would lead to about 3.1 million individuals dropping from the program, USDA officials told reporters in a briefing Monday. That crackdown on benefits would save $2.5 billion per year, or $25 billion over the next decade, officials said. 

Details to come: The proposed rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register shortly. Officials said USDA will take comments for 60 days, a clock that will start Wednesday.

Making the case: The department's goal is to reduce dependency on federal aid and ultimately make SNAP policy "clearer and more consistent" across states, said Brandon Lipps, administrator of USDA's Food and Nutrition Service and acting deputy undersecretary of food, nutrition and consumer Services.

USDA officials pointed to the example of a Minnesota millionaire who was able to qualify for SNAP under broad-based cat-el. "It's not good for the intent of this program," Lipps said. "It's not good for the American support for this program."

 

USDA Deputy Secretary Censky Speaks at SNA’s ANC