With the clock ticking on new standards set to take effect July 1, the School Nutrition Association this morning sent a letter to First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack requesting a meeting to discuss challenges under the new nutrition standards for school meals. It outlines SNA’s specific requests of USDA and Congress and is signed by 20 school foodservice directors from across the country.
The letter says SNA and its members “have been proud to partner with you both in our collective efforts to improve the nutrition and quality of school meals. We take pride in the tremendous progress that school nutrition professionals have made in offering more nutritious choices and encouraging students to enjoy new fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other healthy foods available with school meals.
But, it later says, school nutrition professionals lack the resources and flexibility to plan and serve healthy meals that appeal to students.
“Unfortunately, in spite of the best intentions and efforts, too many individual school district operations continue to struggle with the increased costs, decreased revenues, increased waste and declining participation directly associated with implementation of the nutrition standards. And while it is true that 90 percent of school meal programs have met the 2012 requirements, it is simply inaccurate to say that implementation has been successful, or that schools are prepared to meet the standards that take effect on July 1.”