Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, recently announced that he hopes his committee's work on the legislation will begin in October or November. This means that Congress will need to approve an extension of the current Act so it can continue operating at current funding levels until reauthorization.
In addition to this announcement about timing, Harkin shared some insight into his current thinking about how the Act will address the school food environment. He went on to say that the Agriculture Committee would begin with a draft for reauthorization that would give the USDA, which currently oversees the school meals program, authority to regulate all food sold in schools -- not just cafeteria meals, but also vending machines, school stores, a la carte lines and other sales. Harkin said that the USDA's authority over this food would ensure that junk food could not undermine school nutrition programs.
We look forward to seeing the draft of this legislation and working with our Congressional leaders to ensure that the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act supports schools’ efforts to provide all students with fresh, healthy meals and important lessons about nutrition. To learn more, take action, and stay posted for updates, be sure to visit our Child Nutrition Act resource center.