SOURCE: School Nutrition Association

October 11, 2007 13:25 ET

Biff Burger, Jesse Wrap Are Front-Runners in School Lunch Vote

Students Vote for Their Favorite Healthy School Lunch During National School Lunch Week, October 15 - 19, 2007

ALEXANDRIA, VA--(Marketwire - October 11, 2007) - At town hall meetings, in school cafeterias and on the blogs, the talk is of flavor and favorites. In a tightly contested race, the polls put Biff Burger and Jesse Wrap ahead of a pack of school lunch contenders including Pippa Potato, Patty Mac n' Cheese and Yumi Rice Bowl in the 2007 Vote for School Lunch Campaign. Since July, the five candidates have been wooing students from Iowa to Florida with whole grain goodness and low fat cheesiness all in anticipation of the election, held October 15 - 19, 2007 during National School Lunch Week. The second annual Vote for School Lunch campaign concludes October 22, 2007, when the School Nutrition Association will announce the winning candidate.

Students nationwide are invited to cast their ballot online at www.VoteForSchoolLunch.org and in school cafeterias up until Friday, October 19, 2007. Those that 'Vote for School Lunch' will also learn more about healthy meal choices at school. This year's candidates include Jesse Wrap with lean turkey and whole grain tortilla; Pippa Potato baked served with veggies; Patty Mac 'n' Cheese with whole grain noodles, low fat cheese and broccoli; Biff Burger with a lean patty and a whole wheat bun; and Yumi Rice Bowl with brown rice and vegetables.

The candidates are campaigning on their platform of sound dietary values, great taste and lunchroom versatility and the 2007 winner will go on to compete in the 2008 Presidential election against Pete Pizza -- the 2006 and first-ever 'Vote For School Lunch' campaign winner -- and three student-designed 'Design a Candidate' contest winners.

In addition to the national vote, the campaign includes:

--  Design a Candidate contest: allows students to draw, sketch or design
    new candidates. Up to three winners from each school can be submitted to a
    national panel to be judged and three national winners will be
    professionally re-created to run in the 2008 'Vote' campaign
--  Election days: during National School Lunch Week participating schools
    set up voting booths and hold candidate debates
--  Costume contests: students and staff create costumes and dress up as
    their favorite character
--  Election feasts and assemblies: schools from Pharr-San Juan ISD, Tex.
    to Carlisle, Penn. invite the community in for a healthy lunch and a civics
    lesson
    

SNA's nationwide membership of 55,000 school nutrition professionals work in schools and in communities to provide balanced, nutritious school meals and information on proper portion sizes and nutrition education for children.

Within the federally funded National School Lunch Program:

--  Nationwide, 95% of schools participate and 30 million children are
    served daily
--  Dietary guidelines dictate no more than 30 percent of calories can
    come from fat and less than 10 percent from saturated fat
--  Over the course of one week, lunches must provide 1/3 of the
    Recommended Dietary Allowances of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron,
    calcium and calories
--  Well-balanced school lunches include protein, fruits and vegetables,
    grains and low-fat milk and are served in age-appropriate portions
    

National School Lunch Week was established in 1963 by a proclamation by President John F. Kennedy. It is designed to help raise awareness of and garner support for the role that school foodservice and nutrition programs play in the lives of America's children. The School Nutrition Association celebrates the event each year with a theme and promotional materials. Land O' Lakes School Foodservice, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the Cartoon Network's Get Animated campaign provided support for this year's campaign.

Signed into law by President Harry Truman, the National School Lunch Program provides nutritionally balanced low-cost and free meals to students. Today, healthful options are available in schools nationwide. According to The State of School Nutrition 2007 Report, out of 1,200 school districts surveyed a majority of schools offer fat-free or low-fat milk (97%), fresh fruits and vegetables (96%), salad bars or pre-packaged salads (88%), yogurt and yogurt drinks (81%), from-scratch baked items (63%) and vegetarian meals (52%).

SNA, the School Nutrition Association, is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals. Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children's health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

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