What You Missed at SNA's 2019 Legislative Action Conference

Posted by Kathryn Munna on Mar 6, 2019 9:45:00 AM

2019 Legislative Action Conference

SNA's 47th Legislative Action Conference (LAC) is in the books and I was thrilled to be in attendance, along with several other Heartland team members. This is one of my favorite school nutrition events of the year, and it's a great opportunity for  advocates to come together for the betterment of students. Here are some of my top takeaways from this year's event.

Top takeaways from LAC:

  • My biggest takeaway is the USDA changes for whole grain, sodium, and milk. Regulations on these three commodities will become a bit looser as half of students' weekly grains will now be whole grain-rich, sodium will retain target 1 through 2023-24, and milk regulations will now allow flavored, low fat 1%. Many districts will stay on target with the previous requirements because the menus are created and products are already bid for the school year, but they have the option to adjust to the new requirements immediately.
  • Districts are turning to new foods and options like roasted vegetables instead of steaming them, and adding seafood snacks, popcorn, coconut, and hominy.

  • There is a big emphasis on farm to school from the USDA as there are $7.5 million in available grants for 2019. Read more about Farm to School here.

Heartland Team MembersThe 2019 Position Paper that districts used as their platform when speaking to Congress included the following requests:

  • Increase USDA Foods (commodities) support for the School Breakfast Program

  • Support USDA's ongoing effort to simplify child nutrition programs

  • Encourage USDA to return to the five-year Administrative Review Cycle for School Food Authorities that consistently operate in compliance.

  • Encourage USDA to modify the Smart Snacks in School rule to allow all menu items that are permitted to be served a part of a reimbursable meal to be sold at any time a la carte.

  • Urge USDA and the US Department of Education, in collaboration with SFAs, to develop best practices and guidance to ensure school schedules provide students with adequate time to eat healthy school meals

  • Oppose any effort to block grant school meal programs

I was honored to be a part of LAC this year and have the opportunity to advocate for school nutrition policy changes alongside my fellow SNA members. I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to attend this event to register next year.  Your show of support for SNA and fellow members can truly make a difference.

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Topics: School Nutrition Regulation, Conferences