On January 17, 2020, SNA President Gay Anderson, SNS, and CEO, Patricia Montague, CAE, joined U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue at a roundtable discussion on school nutrition issues. The event, held at Castle Hills Elementary of North East ISD, TX, was attended by federal, state and local officials and numerousschool nutrition professionals, including Texas Association for School Nutrition leaders and North East ISD’s Executive Director of School Nutrition, Sharon Glosson, SNS.
After joining second graders for a healthy school lunch, Secretary Perdue heard from roundtable participants about their programs and how the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 2018 final rule on school meal flexibilities has eased school menu planning challenges.
“Updated nutrition standards for school meals have been a tremendous success overall, but a few of the requirements contributed to reduced lunch participation, higher costs and food waste,” said Anderson. “USDA’s school meal flexibilities are helping us manage these challenges and prepare nutritious meals that appeal to diverse student tastes. SNA appreciates Secretary Perdue’s commitment to hearing from school nutrition professionals who work on the frontlines in school cafeterias and his ongoing efforts to ensure school menu planners have the flexibility they need to best serve our students.”
During the roundtable, Sec. Perdue announced that USDA is releasing proposed regulations to provide additional flexibilities for school meal programs.
Read SNA’s press release on the event.
USDA has released proposed regulations to provide additional flexibilities for school meal and summer meal programs. US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the proposed rules today during a school nutrition roundtable.
The Simplifying Meal Service and Monitoring Requirements in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs proposed rule addresses a wide variety of topics, including changes to the Administrative Review cycle and increased flexibility on vegetable subgroups, age/grade groups, breakfast and competitive food rules. Visit the USDA website for their fact sheet on the school meal rule.
The Streamlining Program Requirements and Improving Integrity in the Summer Food Service Program proposed rule covers a variety of operational and monitoring requirements. Visit the USDA website for their fact sheet on the summer meal rule.
SNA is reviewing the details of these lengthy proposed rules and will collect member feedback as it prepares the Association’s official comments to USDA prior to the 60-day submission deadline. Stay tuned to SchoolNutrition.org for a summary of the rules and further updates.
School Nutrition Professionals Call on Congress to Increase Student Access to School Meals
ARLINGTON, VA – The non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) is calling on Congress to eliminate the reduced price co-pay and expand direct certification with Medicaid data to increase student access to healthy school meals. These requests are part of SNA’s 2020 Position Paper, outlining the legislative priorities for the Association.
Visit www.SchoolNutrition.org/PositionPaper to read the 2020 Position Paper, which includes links for additional details.
“We want all students to have access to healthy school meals, but too often the reduced price co-pay is a barrier that forces vulnerable children to go without the nutrition they need to succeed,” said SNA President Gay Anderson, SNS. “ Research shows school meals are critical to student learning and that school lunches are healthier than the typical packed lunch. By eliminating the reduced price category, Congress can ensure at-risk students have consistent access to healthy school breakfast and lunch to support education.”
The 2020 Position Paper also addresses adequate time for students to consume their meals; the need to preserve current flexibilities in school menu planning; USDA Foods (commodities) support for the School Breakfast Program; and ongoing efforts to streamline child nutrition programs.
In March, school nutrition professionals from across the country will meet with their Members of Congress to discuss SNA’s 2020 Position Paper, as part of the 48th annual Legislative Action Conference (LAC).
On October 30, 2019, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced S.2752, the School Hunger Elimination Act of 2019. This legislation would amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to make improvements to school nutrition program requirements, including the expansion of direct certification, community eligibility and retroactive reimbursements.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) responded to SNA’s comment letter regarding the Federal Register notice, Proposed Collection; Comment Request—Food Distribution Programs. As stated in SNA’s letter, SNA understands the need for data collection but suggests that the processes be streamlined to reduce the burden to State Agencies and program administrators. The response from USDA FNS states it has been taking independent steps to streamline some reporting requirements and procedures. Read USDA’s response.