Child nutrition bill introduced in House

JUNE 11—The US House Education and Labor Committee has introduced the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act of 2010, a Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill that includes funds to make more healthful school meals.

The House’s bill is similar to the Senate’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, but it is expected to expand the Senate bill’s funds for child nutrition programs.

The House bill includes provisions such as assisting schools in meeting the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations for school meals by increasing the federal reimbursement rate for school lunch, granting the secretary of agriculture the authority to establish a national nutrition standard for all foods sold on the school campus throughout the school day, expanding direct certification for school meals to include children who are eligible for Medicaid and expanding universal meal service through community eligibility, a new option allowing high-poverty schools to offer free meals to all students without collecting paper applications.

The School Nutrition Association applauded the House bill. 

“The introduction of a strong House Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill is jumpstarting the effort to meet the nutritional needs of America’s school children, expanding the reach of school meals to those in need and providing vital funds to support school nutrition programs as they offer students more healthy options,” said Dora Rivas, SNA president and executive director of child nutrition services for the Dallas Independent School District.

“School nutrition programs are improving school meals despite limited budgets, complicated regulations and federal reimbursements that don’t meet the cost of preparing school meals,” Rivas added. “We applaud efforts by both the Senate and the House to provide school nutrition programs with additional resources to build on these successes.”