The US House of Representatives has passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the child nutrition reauthorization legislation already passed by the U.S. Senate. The vote was 264 to 157. The legislation, expected to be signed into law by the president, will allow school meal programs to offer a greater variety of nutritious foods in school cafeterias nationwide.
“Members of Congress, the Administration and the First Lady should be recognized for their tireless efforts to improve children’s access to healthy, nourishing meals during these tough economic times,” says Nancy Rice, M.Ed., RD, LD, SNS, State Director of the Georgia Department of Education, School Nutrition Division and president of the School Nutrition Association (SNA). "The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act gives schools critical resources to reach more children with healthy school meals and to serve more fresh produce, whole grains and low-fat dairy products in cafeterias. By establishing nutrition standards for all foods served or sold in schools, the legislation ensures that students will receive a consistent message about healthy choices.”
The legislation contains other critical improvements to the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs that SNA has advocated for, including the creation of standards and a certification process for school foodservice professionals and the establishment of guidelines on which local school expenses (such as electricity, telephones and janitorial services) can be charged to school nutrition programs.
SNA opposed the bill’s use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds to offset the cost of child nutrition reauthorization, but was satisfied with assurances from the Administration that it will work to recover those lost funds for SNAP.