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"The School Nutrition Association today called on Congress to reject any attempt to block-grant federal school nutrition programs. The request, part of the association's annual position paper, comes a year after Congress lost momentum for passing a child nutrition reauthorization bill when House Republicans included a block grant pilot program in their version of the legislation — a move that enraged SNA, health groups and anti-hunger advocates. A dispute with teachers' unions over verification requirements also contributed to the bill's demise. While it doesn't appear likely that Congress will pick up child nutrition reauthorization efforts anytime soon — all of the key programs continue running without needing renewal — SNA is sending a strong signal that toying with block grants will not go over well with the association of 57,000 school nutrition professionals. "American families cannot afford for Congress to dismantle the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs through a dangerous block grant experiment,” said Lynn Harvey, president of SNA. “Block grants would slash child nutrition budgets and void federal rules that protect America’s most vulnerable students. At a time when too many communities are reeling in the wake of natural disasters, fixed-sum block grants would also leave school meal programs without adequate funding to support students in urgent need of assistance following unanticipated financial hardships.” As Congress picks up work on the farm bill, SNA also wants to see an expansion of USDA commodities to support school breakfast programs (H.R. 3738 (115)). The association is further asking Congress to keep an eye on USDA's work to tweak school nutrition standards. The association still supports keeping the current sodium standards, known as Target 1; staving off stricture requirements that were supposed to kick in; and allowing schools more flexibility on requirements to serve whole grain-rich foods."

Posted January 12th, 2018