USDA Unveils Historic Improvements to Meals Served in America’s Schools
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USDA Unveils Historic Improvements to Meals Served in America’s Schools

First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today unveiled new standards for school meals that will result in healthier meals for kids across the nation. The new meal requirements will raise standards for the first time in more than fifteen years and improve the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million kids that participate in school meal programs every school day. The healthier meal requirements are a key component of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by the First Lady as part of her Let’s Move! campaign and signed into law by President Obama.

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USDA Celebrates the Start of a Healthier School Year for America's Kids

Agriculture Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon today announced that America's students will see healthier and more nutritious foods in the cafeteria as they return to school this year. The new nutrition standards for school meals, implemented as a result of the historic Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, will help to combat child hunger and obesity and improve the health and nutrition of the nation's children.

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USDA Awards Grants to Boost Children’s Access to Healthy School Meals

Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon today announced additional investments in the national school meal programs that will protect taxpayer dollars while providing healthy school meals for low-income kids. The Administrative Review and Training Grants help states improve their operational accuracy in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. The grants highlight the work of states in improving the integrity and efficiency of program administration and delivery.

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USDA Unveils New Aggressive Tactics to Counter Fraud and Enhance SNAP Program Integrity

Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced a broad range of additional strategies to further improve program integrity in USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and hold those misusing benefits accountable. The measures include tougher financial sanctions for the small number of retailers that defraud the program and new requirements and tools for States to ensure benefits go solely to eligible individuals.

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USDA Exceeds First Lady's HealthierUS School Challenge Goal

USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Janey Thornton yesterday announced that 3,717 schools are now certified in the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC), an initiative that boosts the health and nutrition of the nation’s schoolchildren. The HUSSC is one of the key parts of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let’s Move! initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation.

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USDA Recognizes States for Exceptional Nutrition Assistance Service

Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today highlighted the historic levels of payment accuracy State agencies achieved in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Fiscal year (FY) 2011 is the fifth consecutive year States improved payment accuracy and program integrity in the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program.

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USDA and Partners Nationwide Team to Feed Children during Summer Meal Gap

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the second annual Summer Food Service Program Week to promote access to healthy meals when schools close for the summer. During the June 11-15 awareness campaign, USDA and its partners will redouble efforts to emphasize the important nutrition benefits offered through the federal Summer Food Service Program and other healthy meal options available for low-income young people across the nation.

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USDA Proposes Additional Steps to Fight Fraud and Enhance SNAP Integrity

Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced new measures to further reduce fraud in USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as part of the Obama administration's ongoing Campaign to Cut Waste. The new measures will help root out waste, fraud and abuse so that federal dollars are invested wisely by giving states new tools to examine excessive requests for replacement benefit cards. Current law lacks needed flexibility for States to contact households for information about requests for multiple replacements, which in some cases may indicate fraudulent activity.

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USDA Grants to Increase Farmers Market Participation in SNAP

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced awards to help States expand availability of wireless technology in farmers' markets not currently participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The $4 million in funding provides SNAP participants greater access to fresh and healthy food, while supporting American farmers and local economies.

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USDA Announces Next States Chosen to Phase In Streamlined Free School Meal Option

Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon announced today that the District of Columbia, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia were selected to use an innovative option to reduce administrative paperwork and costs, while making it easier for eligible children in low-income communities to receive free meals in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Community eligibility alleviates the burden on families by eliminating household applications, while helping schools reduce costs associated with collecting and processing those applications.

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USDA to Provide Additional Funds for Nation’s School Meals

Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced increased support for schools across the Nation as they implement healthier and more nutritious school meal standards for America’s kids. Schools will be reimbursed an additional 6 cents for each lunch they serve in accordance with the new standards– the first increase beyond inflation in over 30 years.

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USDA Announces New Farm to School Program to Improve the Health and Nutrition of Kids Receiving School Meals

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced today that USDA will be investing in farm to school programs nationwide to help eligible schools improve the health and wellbeing of their students and connect with local agricultural producers. Merrigan joined students at Southern High School to announce the new program that will promote opportunities for nutrition and agriculture education while providing new economic opportunities for food producers of all kinds and communities nationwide. Students at the school displayed and highlighted their farm to school efforts with a tour of the school’s greenhouse.

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USDA Announces Investments in Nutrition Education for Native American Families

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today joined tribal leaders from across the nation at the National Congress of American Indians to announce investments in positive nutrition education and physical activity habits that can lead to healthier lifestyles. The grants are funded through USDA's Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) and will provide nutrition education materials and resources for children and parents in tribal communities in 9 states.

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USDA Announces Steps to Streamline Administration and Enhance Program Integrity in the National School Lunch Program

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced new steps to enhance the delivery of USDA services while creating greater efficiencies to make the most of taxpayer dollars. USDA's Food and Nutrition Service is collaborating with six states on new demonstration projects to connect eligible low-income children with free school meals automatically based on information received from Medicaid. The new process will allow for administrative efficiencies, reduce improper payments and streamline efforts to provide access to critical nutrition for kids across the nation.

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USDA Anuncia Inversión en educación nutricional para familias indígenas

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today joined tribal leaders from across the nation at the National Congress of American Indians to announce investments in positive nutrition education and physical activity habits that can lead to healthier lifestyles. The grants are funded through USDA's Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) and will provide nutrition education materials and resources for children and parents in tribal communities in 9 states.

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USDA Celebrates National School Breakfast Week

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today marked National School Breakfast Week (March 5-9) by emphasizing the administration's commitment to provide schoolchildren with healthy, well-balanced meals to prepare them for a productive school day.

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USDA Grants Support Local Efforts to Fight Hunger and Food Insecurity

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today 27 grants to local organizations to build community food systems and fight hunger and food insecurity. The awards were made by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through its Community Food Projects program. The new projects, totaling $4.8 million in funding, include a teen-run community kitchen incubator, faith-based community food assessments, a program to help indigenous people return to healthful eating, and a youth-led food security movement. Community Food Projects have been funded in nearly 350 communities in 48 states in the program's 15-year history.

The Communications Division coordinates public and media communications for the USDA Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services mission area. For media inquiries, please contact FNSpress@usda.gov or 703-305-2281.