SOURCE: School Nutrition Association

February 28, 2007 14:03 ET

School Nutrition Professionals Call for National School Food and Beverage Standards

Legislative Conference Focuses on Healthful School Foods, Bringing Message to Congress

ALEXANDRIA, VA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 28, 2007 -- More than 600 school nutrition professionals will call on Congress to adopt national school food and beverage standards for 'competitive foods' sold on school campuses during the 35th Annual Legislative Action Conference in Washington, DC, March 4-7, 2007. School foodservice directors, nutritionists, state child nutrition directors and foodservice industry representatives will discuss these and other important child nutrition issues before visiting with Members of Congress on Tuesday, March 6.

A key legislative issue the School Nutrition Association (SNA) is advocating for national school food and beverage standards to apply to items made available on the school campus outside of the balanced meals served through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. Under current law, meals provided through the school lunch and breakfast programs must follow nutrition standards in accordance with the "Dietary Guidelines for Americans." Currently, there are no national nutrition standards for 'competitive foods' or foods sold or made available outside of the school cafeteria, resulting in a patchwork of guidelines throughout the country. Consistent standards are needed to promote wellness and send a clear and positive message to schoolchildren nationwide.

SNA is also advocating for:

--  Funding of the Reduced Price School Meal Pilot -- SNA urges Congress
    to provide $23 million over three years to carry out the reduced price
    school meal pilot and create greater access to school meals for students.
    
--  School Breakfast Commodities -- SNA urges that 10 cents be provided in
    Department of Agriculture (USDA) high-quality commodities for each school
    breakfast served.
    
--  Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program -- SNA supports expanding the Fresh
    Fruit and Vegetable Program as a way to promote healthy eating habits and
    nutrition education among children.
    
Activities of the 35th Annual Legislative Action Conference at the J.W. Marriot Hotel in Washington, DC will also include:
--  Speakers include Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Representative
    Stephanie Herseth (D-SD) and Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY.) Noted
    political commentator Charlie Cook will give the opening keynote address.
    
--  Panel discussions will address SNA's 2007 legislative priorities,
    implications of local and state nutrition standards and an update on child
    nutrition activities from the USDA.
    
--  SNA members will take their message to Capitol Hill, sharing the
    nutritional value of school meals with members of Congress on March 6,
    2007.
    
--  On Tuesday, March 6, 2007, SNA president Janey Thornton will testify
    at a hearing held by the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
    Committee entitled "Child Nutrition and the School Setting."
    
--  The Child Nutrition Foundation and SNA will honor former director of
    the World Food Programme, Catherine Bertini, with the 2007 Gene White
    Lifetime Achievement Award at the "A Possible Dream Gala" on Tuesday
    evening, March 6, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade
    Center.  Other award recipients will be Lynnelle Grumbles, SNS, 2006
    Outstanding Director of the Year and Patrick McCoy, SNS, and 2006
    Individual Industry Member of the Year.  Proceeds from the evening will
    benefit the Child Nutrition Foundation's school nutrition initiatives for
    SNA members.
    
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. Currently celebrating its sixtieth anniversary, 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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