The U.S. Agriculture Department will be given the power to regulate all food sold in schools—including vending machine snacks—when Congress renews child nutrition programs later this year. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin made this commitment during a recent confirmation hearing for the head of the USDA's nutrition programs, according to the Reuters news service.
Testifying in April 2009, Miriam Erickson Brown, CEO of the Anderson Erickson Dairy Company in Iowa, urged the Committee to set consistent nutrition standards for all foods and beverages available in schools. She was representing both IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation at the hearing.
"This is good news; it means that we begin work on the legislation with one set of nutrition guidelines for school-based feeding programs," said Ruth Saunders, IDFA Vice President for Policy and Legislative Affairs.