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School lunch compromise good news to fresh fruit, vegetable suppliers

WASHINGTON — Fruit and vegetable companies will continue to sell to schools that must meet improved nutrition standards thanks to a deal cut in the FY 2015 omnibus spending bill signed Dec. 16 by President Obama.

The appropriations bill that funds U.S. Department of Agriculture programs hit a roadblock when an amendment passed that would have allowed schools struggling to meet the strict standards to be granted a waiver. 

“Although well-intended, some of USDA’s rules went too far, too fast, and ended up driving students away from healthy school meals while unnecessarily driving up costs for schools,” said School Nutrition Association CEO Patricia Montague, who backed the waiver.

A coalition of groups, including the United Fresh Produce Association, urged Congress not to allow schools to opt out of all the new provisions, and this month lawmakers agreed to a compromise that allowed schools flexibility in meeting the whole grain and sodium standards.

“Congress agreed that rolling back the very modest requirement that kids get one-half cup of fruits and vegetables in their lunch would not be good policy and would have been detrimental to achieving our shared public health goal, which is to help children learn to make half-their-plate fruits and vegetables,” said Tom Stenzel, president and chief executive officer of United Fresh. “The modest half-a-cup requirement is one step toward a lifetime of better health for today’s kids, and lower long-term healthcare costs for our country.”

The agreement also sets the stage for next year’s reauthorization of child nutrition programs, which expire in 2015.

“Schools need help in modernizing and streamlining procurement processes, updating refrigeration and cafeteria equipment, and financial resources to support healthy meals,” Stenzel said. “The solution contained in the omnibus passed today resolves a past debate, and sets all of us on a positive course where we can work together to serve our nation’s children.”

On a related note, a draft report from the committee developing the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans reported this week the U.S. population has made few dietary changes from 2001-2010, with fruit intake low but stable and vegetable intake declining.

The committee, which recommends changes to the guidelines every five years, is set to recommend U.S. consumers follow a diet high in vegetable, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, seafood, legumes and nuts, and low in red and processed meat, added sugars and refined grains.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Letter From the Editor: The ‘New’ School Lunch

For anyone who still gets the printed version of The New York Times, the pretty magazine among all those advertising inserts is worth a read today. It contains a smartly illustrated story entitled, “How School Lunch Became the Latest Political Battleground,” by Nicholas Confessore. It can also be found online here.

Confessore, who was part of a team that won a Pulitzer for covering the downfall of short-time New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, writes about national politics, so for him to tackle school lunches as a topic might seem strange. It’s certainly not as sexy as writing about pricey prostitutes. However, Confessore did recently get married, so maybe he is just thinking ahead about what’s going to be served at a local elementary school.

Believe it or not, I was actually going to share a few lines about school lunches before word came out about the contents of today’s New York Times magazine. As the school year got underway this year, I began noticing that school lunch news at the local level was falling into about four categories. They are not the ones that get much attention in Washington, D.C.

Nevertheless, it’s great that Confessore did his thing because it catches everyone up on the past four years. The illustrations, with dollar values on food items purchased by the National School Lunch Program, fulfill everyone’s needs for factoids. Who knew school lunches cost $ 112 million just for lettuce or $ 41.5 million for bananas?

Confessore hits around the edges of one or two of the four issues making local news. However, he mostly writes in great detail about the legislative maneuvers, lobbyists, and the battling of beltway power players. We don’t stay awake, but believe me, in the imperial capital they eat that stuff up.

The New York Times is one way to follow the school lunch story. The other way, which I prefer, is to read local newspapers that carry school lunch menus. I am the first to admit it is not as sophisticated, but it sure is fresh.

And, reading those newspapers, I think that school lunch stories fall into these four basic categories: schools and students voting with their feet, strapped local school lunch budgets, calorie restrictions, and food waste. I also think it’s fair to stay that you can find local stories about these basic four themes on just about any day of the week.

Everyone being quoted in these local stories agrees that a change to more nutritional menus for school lunches was overdue. But, at the same time, not since the revolt against the 55-mile-per-hour speed limit has opposition been so strong against a federal mandate as we are seeing against the voluntary National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

We know this because people are voting with their feet.

We know that schools are dropping out daily and that fewer students participate daily. At least 1 million students are known to have bailed. Chances are that number is much higher.

Schools cannot keep kids of a certain age on campus. Try this: Go to a grocery or convenience store nearest to a high school or even middle school shortly before noon. Then just observe.

You will first think what I did — that some sort of demonstration or even riot must be underway. In fact, it’s just kids grazing through the shelves because they cannot stomach what their school serves at lunch.

It’s also obvious to anyone who wants to look for it that this new demand has created something of a building boom around schools as new food outlets are opened just off campus. This would be a great study subject for someone.

The second category of stories about local school lunch programs includes the budget stories. Schools that cannot drop out of the NSLP are going through long sessions with their school boards trying to figure out how to square high prices with few customers.

Another interesting study would be to find out how many school districts must now subsidize their school lunch programs with general fund revenue, thereby reducing the money they have available for classroom instruction or that field trip.

Districts that really need the NSLP reimbursements to go deep with free lunches and breakfasts for needy students may be the hardest hit by changes and have the fewest options for how they balance their budgets.

The need for a national fight against obesity gets mentioned most when the local folks start talking about why the NSLP changes are being imposed.

Some kids are fat, and some are skinny. Some are normal or at typically weights for their ages. Mostly what comes up at local schools is why did the NSLP put everyone on the same diet?

What is the obsession with portion control and calorie restrictions? Why the one-size-fits-all fixation (with some twists of the dial noted for grade levels)?

The new school lunch program has a special burden for kids doing after-school athletics and real work, such as “chores,” in rural America. Lean, mean kids who pump iron after school get the same lunch as the fat ones who waddle home in time for their favorite TV show or to play video games.

Finally, stories about food waste connected with the school lunch program boggle the mind. As much 25 to 40 percent of the money spent on school lunches ends up in the garbage, according to various studies.

The Los Angeles Unified Schools serves 650,000 meals each day and students throw out food valued at $ 100,000 a day, or about $ 18 million a year. And these are the district’s own estimates.

Forcing any food on kids that is only going to be thrown away should be against the law. Yet the “force them to take it “ policy is standard operating procedure for the new school lunch program.

The policy should be, eat all of what you take without any forced choices. And starting a “Clean Plate Club” might help.

Food Safety News

Letter From The Editor: School Lunch Dropouts

This past week probably saw the first-ever national political coverage of an annual meeting of the School Nutrition Association, which went down in Boston.  Most everybody knows SNA is the organization of about 55,000 who manage and direct the school lunch (and some breakfast) programs in as many as 100,000 U.S. schools.

The reason this group comes in for such attention now is because it wants Congress to ease  new federal nutrition standards and other regulations on schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). It’s the only major federal lobbying organization that might be able to focus what’s  become something of a grassroots uprising to some of these changes at the local level.  When someone in the administration refers to the “complaining voices” about the nutrition standards,  they are talking about SNA.

Most all others who lobby about nutrition policy want USDA to hold the line and take new nutrition standards and regulatory controls to their full implementation stage for the 2014-13 school year and then lose no ground when the Healthy, Hunger Free Act is re-authorized by Congress in 2015.   Their campaign is pretty simple.   Anyone who wants changes, wants to “bring back junk food in the schools.”

The political  media at the SNA meeting  were on the lookout only for  the symbolic. The White House East Wing offered to send their chef/policy guy and SNA passed on the offer. For the national media, that was a snub to the First Lady. It also depicted SNA as a food industry whore out to mainline children with surgery drinks and Doritos because some examples of “junk food” could be found among 400 trade show booths at the event.  (SNA does promote food safety in the school lunch program, which of course got no attention.)

This is one of those national political  disputes that’s only likely to become more polarized as time passes.   One can only imagine the rhetoric that will be flying a year from now if both the House and Senate are controlled by the GOP, and  the current administration is counting its days.

While the national political media is having all the fun, this scribe is still trying to understand these new nutritional standards and how they are going down in the real world.    This week it occurred to me that what’s missing is the simple understanding that the NSLP is entirely  voluntary.   Throughout its history, until very recently, enrollments in the NSLP only increased.

But now in scattered reports almost entirely in local newspapers, there are reports of drop outs.  The ones heading to the exit door all seem to be leaving the once popular federal program for reasons involving budgets, menus, food waste, and local control.

Among the latest to drop out was the Colorado’s Douglas County School District.  The state’s third largest school district with more than 60,000 students  left the NSLP before SNA left Boston. The school board simply decided NSLP revenue comes nowhere near the costs the district would assume if it were to satisfy the federal demands. Put another way, the district is not about to give up $ 3 million it makes from keeping its nine Subway franchises open on its high school campuses.

But up front in the information that went to the Douglas County Board was this:

“These USDA regulations include the following:

  • FAT less than or equal to 35 percent  of total calories
  • SAT FAT less than or equal to 10 percent of total calories
  • TRANS FAT 0 percent
  • SUGAR less than or equal to 35 percent of weight of total sugars
  • SODIUM less than or equal to 480 mg Entrée, less than or equal to 230mg Snack/Sides until 2016 then less than or equal to 200 mg
  • CALORIES less than or equal to 350 per Entrée, and/or less than or equal to 200 per Snack/Sides”

Nutrition Action, the health letter published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) , this month provides readers with three recipes from its “healthy cook.”  Only the Chicken Shawarma Lettuce Wraps at 310 calories per serving would meet the NSLP nutrition standards.    CSPI’s Fish Lettuce Tacos at 440 calories per serving and Tofu Lettuce Cups at 480 are too much for a NSLP menu.

CSPI, which probably wouldn’t want their dishes called “junk food” does an admirable job of reducing sodium in their recipes by using various mixes of spices, lime juice, kosher salt and the like for taste.  Yet only one of the three, again the Chicken Shawarma Lettuce Wraps, make the cut for sodium.    CSPI by the way is a big supporter of the new school nutrition standards.

Douglas County freed its high schools of those rules just by deciding not to take USDA’s money. Brent Craig, the district’s nutrition services director, had no trouble getting his board to go along with the recommendation to run USDA off its high school campuses.

The healthy food movement got its hold in the DCSD almost a decade ago as part of the district’s wellness program and  Craig says they prefer what they’ve developed on their own to the rules being  promulgated by USDA. “I do believe we need to fight obesity,” he says. “I do believe we need to feed healthy meals, but I believe in the balanced approach.”

His goal is to offer healthy and palatable food across all campuses without losing money.  They’ve already learned a lot about how far they can go without driving their customers off campus.  Take for example, their duel with that Colorado favorite, the burrito.  It’s  said its easier to have a burrito delivered in Colorado than a pizza.   They are immediately available just about everywhere 24/7.

The DCSD’s healthy food project took on the commercially available burritos and they’ve view it as success. “Chef Doug” came up with a DCSD burrito with 668 calories, 31 grams of fat (41 percent) and 1,283 milligrams of sodium. Those are dramatic reductions from the typical commercial burrito’s 1,060 calories, 46 grams of fat (38 percent) and 2,240 mg. of sodium, but not low enough for the NSLP.

High school students in the district south of Denver like the “Chef Doug” burrito. Craig does not want to go with “little teeny” burritos to make the calorie limit and pulling back any more on the sodium losses flavor quality.   He know doing that would send his kids back to commercial options.

In a 30-slide power point presentation to the school board, Craig went through the district’s history of making its school nutrition program part of the district’s wellness program. It set out to reduce sugar and fat. It went to using only lean beef, chicken breasts instead of what he called “processed parts.” It went with more fresh fruits and vegetables and increased whole grains.

DCSD is making school lunches from scratch and has experimented with how it might meet the dictates coming out USDA. A bare bones pizza using 100 percent part skim Mozzarella cheese came close, but still puts up numbers that are over the limits.

For nutrition directors like Craig, menus and budgets are the driving realities. High school students who decide the meals in the cafeteria suck will quickly be down the road looking for something tastier.

So, Craig turned down a big chunk of the about $ 2.2 million DCSD was getting from the NSLP, and maybe all of it after next school year if the district opts to remove the middle and elementary schools too.

In the mix of menu dictates and budget impacts, USDA wanting to police all food and beverage sales, in all schools enrolled in the NSLP, from 12:01 a.m. to 30 minutes after school each day—well it just became too much for this district.  Food sold ala carte, in school stores, snack bars, and club sales and through fundraisers would have all fallen under the jurisdiction of USDA, including those Subway outlets.

This is a school district with a school and community culture involving extracurricular activities often funded by school boosters and parents.  DCSD Board President says the new NSLP regulations “smacks of nanny state interference” and he wonders how long it will be before USDA wants to control what parents put in school lunch bags. “Are they going to come and monitor your kitchen,” he asked.

If Craig gives the NSLP an exit interview,  he will be able to tell them that this school district has the financial capacity to see that at-risk kids still will get free and reduced cost lunches.   The NSLP for some is now more of a cost than a benefit for at least some  schools.

Right before DCSD took the exit, a local school board removed the C.W. Baker High School in the Baldwinsville, NY from the NSLP.

Maybe the only the rich schools will drop out..   How many will that be?     At this point,  nobody knows.   As for the ones that do,  we’re just going to have to keep our eyes on those community newspaper that carry the school lunch menus and report on school board meetings.

 

Food Safety News

House panel votes to allow waivers from new school lunch standards

WASHINGTON — New school lunch regulations implemented during the 2012-13 school year that doubled the amount of fruits and vegetables served every day may be in jeopardy as a House subcommittee voted May 20 to allow schools to apply for waivers from the new requirements.

Attached to the fiscal 2015 spending bill for the U.S. Department of Agriculture is a provision that would grant the Secretary of Agriculture authority to establish a waiver process and allow schools demonstrating an economic hardship to pass on complying with certain nutrition regulations during the 2014-15 school year.

The controversial provision cleared the first hurdle during subcommittee markup and is scheduled for a full committee vote next week. Similar language does not appear in the Senate version.

“I continually hear from my schools in Alabama about the challenges and costs they are facing and their desperation for flexibility and relief so they can operate a program serving healthy foods the kids will eat,” said Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over USDA’s budget, who supports the waivers.

“If your schools are successfully implementing the nutrition standards and operating in the black, they would not qualify for or need a waiver,” Aderholt said at the session. “However, for schools suffering economic hardship and needing more time to implement and adjust to the new standards, this waiver gives them that flexibility schools are asking us to provide.”

The legislative fix was met with fierce opposition from Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) during the subcommittee markup.

Farr called the change in nutrition standards “hard to swallow,” and pointed out that schools could stop serving added fruits and vegetables and keep the federal money. More than 90 percent of schools are having no trouble meeting the new nutrition standards and USDA has pledged to work with the other schools, he said.

“Members of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee who voted to roll back school meal nutrition standards that benefit the health of millions of American children should be embarrassed,” Tom Stenzel, president and chief executive officer of the United Fresh Produce Association, said in a statement issued after the vote.

USDA also wasted no time reacting to the latest vote on Capitol Hill. Soon after the subcommittee action, USDA announced it would give schools that demonstrate significant challenges in serving whole-grain rich pastas the option to continue serving traditional enriched pasta for up to two more years.

USDA also issued a fact sheet and cited a Harvard study that concluded kids are now eating 16 percent more vegetables and 23 percent more fruit at lunch under the updated standards.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

House panel votes to allow waivers from new school lunch standards

WASHINGTON — New school lunch regulations implemented during the 2012-13 school year that doubled the amount of fruits and vegetables served every day may be in jeopardy as a House subcommittee voted May 20 to allow schools to apply for waivers from the new requirements.

Attached to the fiscal 2015 spending bill for the U.S. Department of Agriculture is a provision that would grant the Secretary of Agriculture authority to establish a waiver process and allow schools demonstrating an economic hardship to pass on complying with certain nutrition regulations during the 2014-15 school year.

The controversial provision cleared the first hurdle during subcommittee markup and is scheduled for a full committee vote next week. Similar language does not appear in the Senate version.

“I continually hear from my schools in Alabama about the challenges and costs they are facing and their desperation for flexibility and relief so they can operate a program serving healthy foods the kids will eat,” said Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over USDA’s budget, who supports the waivers.

“If your schools are successfully implementing the nutrition standards and operating in the black, they would not qualify for or need a waiver,” Aderholt said at the session. “However, for schools suffering economic hardship and needing more time to implement and adjust to the new standards, this waiver gives them that flexibility schools are asking us to provide.”

The legislative fix was met with fierce opposition from Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) during the subcommittee markup.

Farr called the change in nutrition standards “hard to swallow,” and pointed out that schools could stop serving added fruits and vegetables and keep the federal money. More than 90 percent of schools are having no trouble meeting the new nutrition standards and USDA has pledged to work with the other schools, he said.

“Members of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee who voted to roll back school meal nutrition standards that benefit the health of millions of American children should be embarrassed,” Tom Stenzel, president and chief executive officer of the United Fresh Produce Association, said in a statement issued after the vote.

USDA also wasted no time reacting to the latest vote on Capitol Hill. Soon after the subcommittee action, USDA announced it would give schools that demonstrate significant challenges in serving whole-grain rich pastas the option to continue serving traditional enriched pasta for up to two more years.

USDA also issued a fact sheet and cited a Harvard study that concluded kids are now eating 16 percent more vegetables and 23 percent more fruit at lunch under the updated standards.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Meat Recalls + Slaughter Plant Shutdowns = Supplier for the National School Lunch Program?

When you think about the food being served in school cafeterias nationwide, do the words meat recall, animal abuse, unsanitary conditions and slaughter plant shutdowns come to mind?

Perhaps they should.

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture temporarily shut the doors of Central Valley Meat (CVM), a dairy cow slaughter plant in Hanford, CA — and a major supplier to the National School Lunch Program and other federal food initiatives.

The notice to suspend operations was based on USDA findings of unsanitary conditions, the details of which have not yet been publicly disclosed. Yet, just as soon as the media began covering the story, the suspension was lifted, allowing operations to resume.

This isn’t the first time USDA has shut down CVM.

In August 2012, Compassion Over Killing, a national animal protection organization, released an undercover video exposing the abuse of animals inside this Hanford slaughter plant. The video shows cows, many of whom were sick or injured, being mistreated. Unable to walk to the kill floor, many cows were repeatedly poked, electrically prodded and lifted by their tails in an effort to get them moving. Many were eventually shot in the head. In some cases, cows were shot multiple times before dying. In other cases, despite being shot many times, cows were suffocated to death by workers who stepped on their mouths and nostrils.

After viewing this footage, USDA immediately shut the facility down, citing “egregious inhumane handling and treatment of livestock.” This story of abuse made national and international headlines and was the topic of an exclusive investigative report on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.

As a consequence of the shutdown, federal nutrition programs suspended purchases from CVM. Several major food retailers — including In-N-Out Burger, McDonald’s and Costco — also severed ties with the facility.

Later that month, however, USDA lifted its operational suspension, allowing CVM to reopen. Shortly thereafter, the federal government resumed its purchases from this facility — putting meat from CVM back onto the plates of our nation’s students.

CVM has been shut down twice by USDA, but that’s not all. In 2011, CVM was cited by Cal-OSHA for serious safety violations after a worker was killed in a meat blender. And then, in 2013, CVM issued a recall of an estimated 90,000 pounds of ground beef — meat that was on its way to school cafeterias across the country — based on concerns that it may have contained small pieces of plastic.

This is not the only slaughter plant to raise USDA’s concerns for the safety of meat going into our school lunches. In 2008, the Humane Society of the United States uncovered abuses at Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co., another dairy cow slaughter plant in California. USDA shut the facility down in response to the video, which showed sick cows who were too weak to even stand up forced onto the kill floor and slaughtered for human consumption. The agency declared the meat to be “unfit for human food” and issued the largest meat recall in our nation’s history. About a third of that recalled meat — 50 million pounds — had been distributed to American schoolchildren.

The questionable safety of the meat entering the National School Lunch Program is hardly a new topic. But with these mounting examples of meat safety concerns, including recalls and slaughter plant shutdowns, the time is ripe to address these important issues for the sake of our children and farmed animals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common sources of foodborne illness outbreaks come from animal origins. As such, replacing meat with vegetarian options may help reduce food safety risks. Eating more fruits and vegetables offers other health benefits as well. In the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, USDA, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced that “vegetarian-style eating patterns have been associated with improved health outcomes.”

The animals would certainly benefit from the switch, too.

Schools across the country — from Los Angeles to Baltimore to Buffalo — have successfully adopted Meatless Monday menus, demonstrating support and demand for meat-free, healthy meals.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that one of the safest and healthiest choices for our children is to start subtracting meat and adding vegetarian options to the school lunch equation.

Food Safety News

School Lunch ‘Shrinkage’ Aside, USDA Food and Nutrition Spending Will Grow in 2015

At least 1.6 million students who previously paid for their own lunches at National School Lunch Program cafeterias have dropped out because they don’t like the new menus or the associated price increases, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) says in a new report. In that report, GAO documents some significant shrinkage in the school lunch program during the 2012-13 school year because of changes dictated by the Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

But there is no shrinkage for any of the nation’s top three nutritional programs — all run by USDA — in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 sent to Congress earlier this week by President Obama. The National School Lunch Program will get $ 20.537 billion for fiscal 2015, up from $ 19.287 billion in the current year. The changes required under the 2010 act took effect mostly during the 2012-13 school year.

Food stamps — now called the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP — is the nation’s largest nutritional program, which will cost taxpayers $ 84.256 billion in fiscal 2015, which begins Oct. 1, 2014. In the current year, the electronic SNAP cards will ring up $ 82.169 billion.

Prior to that school year, GAO said the National School Lunch Program served 31 million school children at a cost of about $ 11.6 billion (fiscal 2012). Changes imposed on the 100,000 schools in the National School Lunch program involved both portion and calorie control, especially calling for more fruits and vegetables, mostly to combat childhood obesity.

USDA’s Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) program will, under Obama’s budget, get a bump to $ 6.823 billion, up from $ 6.715 billion in the current year. WIC is the nutrition program for low-income, at-risk pregnant and post-partum women. Obama’s budget calls for $ 60 million for breastfeeding counselors and $ 30 million for new technology.

Overall, Obama is asking for an increase of about $ 3.5 billion for the three largest nutritional programs provided by the federal government — to $ 111.6 billion, up from $ 108.1 billion.

Once the top three programs are included, USDA’s total spending on food and nutrition in fiscal 2015 will reach $ 155 billion. This includes includes spending on hunger programs and USDA’s spending on surplus commodities. Giving away blocks of cheese and other staples, for example, preceded the food stamp program and have not gone away.

Food Safety News

National School Lunch Dropout Rate is Small, USDA Reports

Schools are dropping out of the National School Lunch Program over the new nutrition standards, but not all that many, USDA reports.

The federal subsidized lunch program has lost 524 schools out of about 100,000 that were enlisted before the standards changed, and only 90 said they were leaving specifically because of the new meal plan requirements. Most don’t give a reason when they leave the program, and they don’t have to.

While losing one-half percent of its schools, USDA say 80 percent have met the requirements for healthier menu offerings that went into effect at the start of the 2012-13 school year. There were plenty of complaints, mostly about food waste and calorie reductions being imposed on active students.

The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation also came out with a report stating that 94 percent of the schools will meet the updated nutrition standards in the 2013-14 school year, but many schools need updated equipment to handle the changes properly. The nonprofits said more fruits and vegetables mean more chopping and slicing and that calls for the right equipment.

Congress appropriated $ 10 million for fiscal year 2013 for new and better food service equipment purchases.

Ironically, it appears that no public schools in Midwestern states such as Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas dropped the national school lunch program even though students in those states were among the most vocal opponents of the changes. The highest dropout rates – about 2 percent – came from Hawaii and Guam.

Food Safety News