Finding little to like in a committee-passed legislation for child nutrition programs, United Fresh Produce Association president Tom Stenzel said the House of Representatives should start from scratch to create a bipartisan bill that has a chance to pass this year.
“The child nutrition reauthorization bill passed (May 18) by the House Education and the Workforce Committee is a disappointing step that does little to advance Congressional efforts to pass any legislation this year,” Stenzel said in a statement.
“We urge leaders of the House of Representatives to recognize that this bill has little chance of passing, and instead, encourage members to begin the real work of discussing a bipartisan compromise that might best serve children in the years ahead. “
One provision of the bill would strike the world “fresh” from the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and would open up the program to all forms of fruits and vegetables.
In addition, the legislation would dilute nutrition standards for school meals and increase the administrative burdens on schools and families, according to a statement from James Weill, president of the Food Research & Action Center.
Damaging provisions in the bill, he said, include a three-state pilot project that would replace the school breakfast, school lunch, special milk and Team Nutrition program. Under the pilot, states could abandon current nutrition standards for school meals, instead only requiring meals to be “healthy.” Weill said more than 750 national, state and local organizations oppose the bill, according to the statement.