ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
New rules proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) —authorized under the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010—will require all foods sold in schools to meet strict nutritional standards beginning in 2014. Though intended by Congress to target snack foods sold in vending machines, a la carte lines and school stores, these regulations could have a harmful effect on students in CTE culinary programs that operate student-run cafés, bakeries and catering businesses.
ACTE has been actively engaged on this issue for over a year, working with both the USDA and Congress to express our concerns with the proposed rule. Following a strong reaction from the CTE community, the USDA has said that it will consider granting waivers from the nutritional requirements for CTE programs on a case-by-case basis. While this waiver is a positive development that could provide relief to some CTE culinary programs, ACTE will continue to push for a full exemption for all affected CTE programs.
Leading the effort on Capitol Hill, Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI), the co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional CTE Caucus, are currently circulating a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting a special exemption for CTE culinary programs. “In order to secure gainful employment following graduation, students must be trained in all aspects of food preparation and service, including safe preparation guidelines, local health department requirements, and the technical skills associated with the culinary arts, along with every part of working in a commercial kitchen,” wrote the co-chairs. “We believe this common sense approach will both uphold the congressional intent behind the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and avoid diminishing future career opportunities for young learners.”
Take a few minutes to contact your representative and ask them to join Reps. Thompson and Langevin as a co-signer of this letter! Visit the CTE Action Center to send your Member of Congress a message now!
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 10/18/2013 at 03:58 PM in Action Alerts, CTE Caucus, School Nutrition | Permalink
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the final version of new regulations to establish national nutritional standards for all foods sold to students in schools. The nutritional standards—authorized by section 208 of the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010—specifically address “competitive foods” that are sold in schools outside of the school breakfast and lunch programs. Though intended to target foods sold in vending machines, al a carte lines and school stores, the stricter guidelines could impact CTE programs that have incorporated into their course curriculum a student-run café, bakery or other school-based business that sells food. ACTE has been actively engaged in this issue since the law was originally proposed in 2010. Following strong reaction from the CTE community in public comments on the draft version of the regulations in April, the USDA has agreed to provide a special CTE exemption! CTE programs that are not able to meet the new nutrition guidelines for instructional reasons will be eligible to apply for a waiver from the department.
The draft version of the regulations proposed by the USDA, released earlier this year, did not specifically address the potential impact on CTE programs. ACTE, along with the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), sent a letter to the USDA requesting an exemption for CTE programs that prepare and sell foods for instructional purposes. The department has responded with a new regulatory framework that recognizes the importance of CTE programs in preparing students to enter careers in the food service industry and addresses the special challenges that the regulations may create for teachers and students. “Students are preparing to enter the workforce where the nutritional standards and requirements may vary widely from those required under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP),” wrote the department. “Applying the nutrition standards for competitive food to these programs may limit the skill development necessary for careers in the food industry. Therefore, in recognition of the potential conflict of legislative intent, the Department is willing to consider each situation on a case by case basis, and provide a waiver where appropriate.”
The USDA also clarified that the nutritional standards apply only to foods sold to students and not adult or community patrons, a detail not included in the original law but that was specifically pointed to as a concern by ACTE in previous communications with the department.
The new regulations will not go into effect until July 1, 2014, for the 2014-15 school year, allowing states and districts a full year to implement the new standards. Though the details of the waiver option have not yet been specifically outlined, ACTE will continue to work with the department to ensure a clearly defined process that is not overly burdensome for CTE programs, and will let you know as soon as more details are available. To view the final rule and determine its impact on any food sales you or your students are currently engaged in, please visit the USDA website.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 07/01/2013 at 04:14 PM in Executive Branch, School Nutrition | Permalink
Recently, ACTE provided comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding a proposed regulation that would establish national nutritional standards for all foods sold to students in schools. The proposed nutritional standards—authorized by section 208 of the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act—specifically address “competitive foods” that are sold in schools outside the school breakfast and lunch programs. Though intended to target foods sold in vending machines, al a carte lines and school stores, the stricter guidelines could impact CTE programs that have incorporate into their courses a school-based business that sells food. ACTE has been actively engaged in this issue since the law was originally proposed in Congress in 2010 as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to end childhood obesity.
The proposed regulation that was released by the USDA does not specifically address the potential impact on CTE programs. The proposal does say that the nutritional standards apply to foods sold to students and not adult patrons, which was not included in the original statute but specifically pointed to as a concern by ACTE in previous communications with the department.
Last week, ACTE, along with the National Association of State Directors for Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), sent a letter to the department as part of our ongoing effort to express the concerns of the CTE community on this issue. The letter also requests an exemption for CTE programs and those foods prepared and sold competitively for CTE instructional purposes.
The USDA will consider these comments in writing the final regulation, which will be announced in the coming months. ACTE and our partner organizations will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to raise awareness of the issue and to ensure the best outcome for CTE.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 04/18/2013 at 05:28 PM in School Nutrition | Permalink
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