The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is calling on Congress to pass a strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill providing more funding and flexibility to provide healthy, appealing meals for students before the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) expires on September 30.
SNA is asking Congress to maintain the overwhelming majority of HHFKA rules, including caps on calories, saturated and trans fats and mandates to offer larger servings and a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. However, to address challenges under the new rules, it also requests a 35 cent increase to the federal reimbursement for school meals and flexibility on a few of the new rules.
A recent SNA study found that despite widespread efforts to promote healthier choices to students, 58% of responding school meal programs had experienced a decline in lunch participation under the new standards. Those results echo data from USDA showing more than a million fewer students choose school lunch each day under the new rules. This trend reduces revenue for programs already struggling with the higher cost of meeting the rules.
“As Congress works to improve the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, it is critical that they hear from school nutrition professionals working on the frontlines in school cafeterias,” said SNA President Jean Ronnei, SNS, who is also COO for Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. “To sustain the progress we have achieved for students, Congress must maintain strong federal nutrition standards while providing more funding and options for school meal planners to appeal to diverse student tastes.”
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]