Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack delivered keynote remarks yesterday at the Center for American Progress encouraging Congress to act quickly to reauthorize a strong Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and support the ongoing success of the healthier meals now being served in federal child nutrition programs.
“I'm here today to encourage Congress to get back to work as our youngsters are getting back to school,” said Vilsack. “Don't take a step back, let's take steps forward. That's what we did in 2010, and that's what we should do in 2015.”
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, passed in 2010, has sought to improve the nutrition of foods and beverages served in cafeterias and sold in vending machines. Congress will soon reauthorize the federal child nutrition programs included in this act.
“As Congress considers change to the child nutrition programs in the reauthorization process, the requirement to offer milk with each school lunch should be retained, and schools should have a choice to offer either fat-free or low-fat flavored milk consistent with the Dietary Guidelines,” said Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs.
IDFA also supports other changes to the program that will increase participation and ensure that children maintain access to healthy dairy products.
School Breakfast Reaches Record Number of Students
Last week, USDA reported a continued upswing in the amount of children served by its School Breakfast Program each year, which is authorized under the federal child nutrition programs. According to USDA’s Economic Research Service, approximately 13.5 million students participated on an average school day in fiscal 2014. This number has more than doubled since 1996.
The program’s early morning meals, which require the offering of low-fat and fat-free milk options, now reaches nearly 90,000 schools across the country under the current child nutrition standards.
To learn more about the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act and the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.