2015 Omnibus Language Addresses Several SNA Asks Including Sodium and Whole Grain

By  •  December 10, 2014 at 10:12 am  •  0 Comments

SNA Press Release: December 10, 2014, Congress released the full text of the Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. SNA was pleased to see several of our key issues addressed in the language that will provide schools greater flexibility to plan healthy school meals that students will eat. Congress is expected to vote on the Omnibus bill this week and we ask you to urge your Congressional delegation to vote yes on the bill.

The key sections in the legislation and how they will impact SNA members are:

  • Sodium – suspends further sodium reductions for “meals, foods, and snacks sold in schools” until there is further scientific research that shows a benefit to children.
  • Whole Grains – USDA shall allow states to grant exemptions on the 100% whole grain rich requirement should an SFA demonstrate hardship, including financial, procurement, and student acceptability. Qualifying SFAs will be permitted to meet the July 2012 mandate that half of grains offered be whole grain rich. This provides a vehicle allowing states and schools to work together on flexibility for those schools struggling with this particular issue.
  • Equipment grants – provides $25 million in additional equipment grants to be distributed by the State Agencies. These funds are available to all schools regardless of free and reduced percentage.
  • Chinese Chicken – schools will not be able to purchase chicken from China for use in the NSLP and SBP program.

What the legislation does not include is the one year waiver for schools with a net loss for six months or more.

The accompanying report language, which acts as guidance for the legislation, directs the Secretary to use the authority under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act to allow States to vary the frequency of monitoring and compliance reviews of each school food authority based on past school performance, with no cycle extending more than five years. The report language also urges USDA to work to ensure there are no “unintended consequences” when implementing Professional Standards.

We thank our members for all of their help in contacting their Members of Congress over the past year to explain the impact of the well-intended regulations. SNA will continue to advocate for all of our Members in the coming year as we turn our attention to the Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2015 effort. SNA Urges Support for School Meal Flexibility in Omnibus

 

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