With celebrity star power from television personality, chef and child nutrition activist Rachael Ray on Capitol Hill yesterday, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) introduced his Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation, the Improving Nutrition for Americaís Children Act.
The legislation will dramatically improve the quality of meals children eat both in school and in child care settings, and establishes nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools. The legislation supports key investments advocated by President Obamaís Administration and First Lady Michelle Obamaís Letís Move! initiative to improve child nutrition and reduce childhood obesity.
United Fresh Produce Association President and CEO Tom Stenzel has released the following statement on the legislation, applauding the billís provisions for increasing reimbursement rates for healthier school meals and additional monies for cafeteria equipment, and calling on members of the House to expedite the billís passage.
"United Fresh commends Education and Labor Committee Chairman Miller for introducing a bill that will improve the quality of schools meals and provide schools with additional funds to serve more fruits and vegetables at lunch," Stenzel said. "We echo USDA Secretary Vilsackís plea to Congress that Ďwe simply must pass this critical legislation this year, for the future of our children.í United Fresh is especially pleased to see that Chairman Miller has proposed a six-cent increase in the reimbursement rate for school lunch and tied this increase to meeting requirements proposed by the Institute of Medicine, as well as recognizing that schools need additional funding for new cafeteria equipment. Both of these inclusions ensure that schools have the ability to serve more fresh fruits and vegetables. Also this legislation establishes updated nutrition standards for all foods served in schools. United Fresh calls upon the House and the Senate to quickly reauthorize the Child Nutrition Programs before September 30, 2010. Passing this legislation is critical to the health of our nationís schoolchildren."