Yesterday Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack previewed the Obama Administration’s priorities for the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which addresses Federal Child Nutrition Programs.
The Child Nutrition Act reauthorization is currently being considered by Congress. The legislation is renewed every five years and provides an outline for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs which serve more than 31 million school children in over 100,000 schools across the country.
The Administration’s priorities include eliminating barriers that keep children from participating in school nutrition programs, improving the quality of meals, and enhancing program performance.
This week the Institute of Medicine released a study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that found children are not eating enough dark green vegetables, fruits, or whole grains.
The findings of the study are in tune with the Administration’s clear priority to promote healthier eating and fruit and vegetable consumption.
Reauthorization of the bill was originally expected to be taken up this fall, but it has since been pushed back till after the holidays.
If the federal school nutrition programs are transitioned to provide more fruits and vegetables and raw food for students, there will likely have to be ramped up food handling training, as raw food presents different risks than microwavable pizzas and highly processed french fries.