The USDA's Food and Nutrition Service has released new data showing that 95 percent of school districts participating the the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) are successfully meeting the updated meal standards required by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010. The research also showed that 72 percent of parents favor national standards for meals, and 80 percent support healthier snacks.
The data reflects the percent of School Food Authorities (USDA's term for the authority that administers the NSLP for multiple school sites, which is generally the district) certified for NSLP performance based reimbursement as of December 2014. The percentages range from 100 percent compliance in 17 states encompassing 3,969 SFAs to 74.7 percent in Louisiana, the lowest number among the states (two territories—Guam with 33.3 percent for its 3 SFAs and Puerto Rico with 73.7 percent for its 38 SFAs—were lower).
The 95 percent aggregate figure means that of the 19,721 SFAs participating in NSLP, 18,735 are in compliance and eligible to receive federal reimbursement.
In a statement accompanying the release of the data, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said the following...
"Updated healthy school meal standards were created based on the expert advice of pediatricians and nutrition experts and are being widely embraced by students, parents, educators, and nutrition professionals. We are very encouraged that 95 percent of schools are now successfully providing more nutritious meals to their students. We are working with schools to provide funding, training, and flexibility so that 100 percent of schools will be able to successfully serve children healthier meals. Now that we are so close to the finish line, it would be unwise to roll back healthy meal standards just as they are beginning to work to ensure our kids have access to the balanced, nutritious food doctors recommend."
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]