Thursday, April 16, 2015

School Nutrition Association wants more funding, more flexibility for new school lunch rules

School nutrition advocates want more flexibility with new school lunch rules to cut down on the amount of waste from unwanted food, Spencer Chase reports for Agri-Pulse. Julia Bauscher, president of the School Nutrition Association, told the House Education and Workforce Committee on Wednesday that the organization supports the rules but needs more funding to enforce it and more wiggle room to serve foods students will eat. (USDA graphic)
"SNA is requesting 35 cents more in federal funding for each lunch and breakfast that is served in the school lunch program, up from the additional six cents the government provided when the new standards were put in place," Chase writes. Bauscher told the committee, “That will help school food authorities afford the foods that we must serve, but unfortunately that won't make students consume it.”

Bauscher, who said SNA wants Congress "to soften the bill's target levels for more whole grains and less sodium in school meals," said that "in many cases, the new requirements have forced school lunch programs outside of budgetary constraints, forcing them to ask school districts to make up the difference. According to SNA, school districts will absorb $1.2 billion in new food and labor costs in 2010."

Currently 51 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunches, the first time the number has topped 50 percent in at least 50 years, Chase writes.

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