A big priority for nutrition advocates is increasing the USDA reimbursement rate for school meals. Currently, the USDA provides $2.68 for students who qualify for free lunches. The Washington, D.C.-based School Nutrition Association has suggested — and United Fresh supports — a 35-cent increase in the reimbursement. DiSogra, said the increase should be tied to schools that would provide more fruits and vegetables and whole grains in school meals.
“I know that for schools to really improve the healthfulness of their school meals and to serve more fruits and vegetables like the Institute of Medicine has recommended, they need a higher reimbursement rate,” she said. “Getting a higher reimbursement rate is critical to everything that is important to United.”
DiSogra said the child nutrition legislation will likely ask the USDA to regulate all food sold in schools that compete with the school-sponsored meals — such as vending machine snacks and soda.