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School Nutrition Association continues to push for universal free meals

The SNA outlined that request and more in its 2022 Position Paper.
Students eating in the cafeteria
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The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has released its 2022 Position Paper, which urges Congress to make universal free meals permanent and more.

Similar to last year’s position paper, the SNA is asking Congress to make universal meals a permanent fixture, arguing that such a move will ensure all students receive a healthy meal during the school day and allow school nutrition professionals to spend more time focusing on feeding kids and less time on paperwork.

In addition, the SNA says that the pandemic-related child nutrition waivers set to expire at the end of June should be extended through the 2022-2023 school year. 

In a survey released by the SNA last month, only about half of respondents said that the current reimbursement rates were enough to cover the costs of producing a meal. The SNA is asking Congress to increase the meal reimbursement rate to help cover costs brought on by the pandemic. Last week, the USDA announced it would do just that, saying it will provide schools with an additional 25 cents per meal.

School nutrition teams are also continuing to struggle with meeting sodium, whole grain and milk requirements. The SNA is asking Congress to eliminate the final sodium targets and give nutrition teams more time to meet the target 2 sodium requirement. It also would like Congress to restore the rule that half of all grains be whole-grain rich and allow schools to offer low-fat flavored milk.

The SNA is also looking to reduce regulatory and administrative burdens for nutrition teams, and as such, is asking Congress to direct the USDA to implement the recommendations outlines in the Congressionally-mandated Child Nutrition Reporting Burden Analysis Study.

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