School nutritionists’ lobbying group, freshly funded by grocery makers, wants more funding and flexibility with school-lunch rules

School nutrition officials want more flexibility with new school lunch rules to cut down on the waste of unwanted food,
Spencer Chase reports for Agri-Pulse, a Washington newsletter. Julia Bauscher, president of the School Nutrition Association, told the House Education and Workforce Committee that the
organization supports the rules, but needs more funding to enforce them  and more flexbility 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,” Agri-Pulse reports. SNA has drawn major funding from some food manufacturers.

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

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