Momentum builds for child nutrition bill, with votes expected after Thanksgiving

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, Nov. 19 - This week has focused attention on pending child nutrition legislation, with more than 1,300 advocates from across the country joining USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA) for a national Child Nutrition Virtual Town Hall Rally. There have also been two widely-attended briefings for Capitol Hill staff. Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) and his legislative director Karen Williams hosted one child nutrition briefing which included speakers from Mission Readiness, the American Heart Association, the American Beverage Association and the School Nurses Association.

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Also, three of the House's strongest supporters for child nutrition, Chairman Miller and Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Jim McGovern (D-MA), sent a letter of support to urging swift passage of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act. The United Fresh Produce Association and other advocates continued to meet with House staff to build broad bipartisan support for the bill.

The week also included a strategy meeting called by House leadership staff to organize activities starting Monday, November 29 to get the child nutrition bill passed before the lame duck session ends and to the President's desk.

“There are still many challenges ahead. Passing anything in a lame-duck session of Congress is challenging, but we are committed to passing the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. This bill is truly historic legislation and will improve the healthfulness of school meals,” said Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh vice president of nutrition. “I encourage all United Fresh members to contact their member of Congress on November 29 and once again urge them to vote 'Yes' on the child nutrition bill.”

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is aimed at improving the healthfulness of school meals by increasing the federal reimbursement rate for school lunch by $.06. The increase in the reimbursement rate is tied specifically to serving more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The bill also creates national nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools, providing new marketing and sales opportunities for fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.

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