SNA allowing child nutrition debate to become political - The Packer

SNA allowing child nutrition debate to become political

08/11/2014 11:51:00 AM
Tom Karst

“I'm lucky my daughter will eat her vegetables. But it was very wasteful from what I've seen from being in the cafeteria,” she said."


I respect what the Kentucky school district is doing. If they can't accept the nutrition standards, then forfeit federal funds and get out.

Go ahead and serve greasy pizza, tater tots and cinnamon rolls to your heart's content.

The School Nutrition Association is allowing itself to be used in this political fight. By inviting Congressional meddling in school lunch standards, the group has hurt its credibility as a trusted advocate for advances in child nutrition.

Don't make the school lunch standards debate a personal vendetta against the Obama Administration.

The group recently put out a news release, and here is an excerpt:

 Persistent revenue declines and rising costs threaten the financial stability of many school meal programs. The Fiscal Year 2015 House Agriculture Appropriations Bill proposes a temporary one-year waiver of the new standards for school meal programs operating at a net loss for six months or more:

• 22.5% of respondents reported their programs are eligible for the proposed one-year waiver, and another 12% were unsure if their programs would be eligible.

• 22.7% of respondents indicated they would be interested in applying for the waiver.

Survey respondents also reported significant increases in plate waste and challenges with the cost of foods that meet the new standards, including the 2014 mandates that all grains must be whole grain rich and that each breakfast offer a full cup of fruit/vegetable.


  • 81% report an increase in the amount of food being thrown away by students at lunch.
  •  Vegetables are most frequently identified as causing the increase in plate waste.
  • More than 60% anticipate whole grain rich mandates will increase their average cost of preparing school meals in SY 2014-15.
  • 87% anticipate the breakfast mandate will increase the cost of preparing a breakfast in SY 2014-15, and indicated an average cost increase of approximately 14 cents per breakfast.



TK: The flimsy one-year waiver will morph into one of indefinite length. The approach by SNA to seek these dubious “waivers” is inviting more half-hearted attempts at compliance and wrong-headed political attacks. Eventually, the approach will erode the integrity of the program. School districts should either work with the program and find success or, like the Kentucky district, get out and pay their own freight.

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