childhood nutrition

Hunger conference is partisan gathering, say House Republicans

The White House forfeited its opportunity for a bipartisan outcome of its hunger conference next week, so it should expect open skepticism about its recommendations, said five senior House Republicans on Wednesday.

Largest U.S. Covid fraud scheme victimized child nutrition program, say feds

The Justice Department on Thursday accused 47 people of looting $250 million from the federal child nutrition program by fraudulently claiming to feed thousands of poor children daily in Minnesota during the pandemic. Instead, they allegedly spent the money on cars, houses, jewelry, travel and real estate the United States, Kenya and Turkey in what Attorney General Merrick Garland said was "the largest pandemic relief fraud scheme" yet.

Make school lunches free again, say House Democrats

Nearly one of every four Democrats in the House signed a letter to congressional leaders on Thursday, asking for a return to universal free school lunches and breakfasts.

Will a state-level push for free school meals spur federal action?

When the government made school meals temporarily free to virtually all public school students in 2020, the intent was to buffer children and families from the spike in hunger and economic hardship caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. It also inadvertently turned out to be a pilot project for something anti-hunger groups had been pushing for years: making school food free, permanently, for all public school students, regardless of income. (No paywall)

White house sets hunger conference for Sept. 28

The Biden administration on Monday set a date of Sept. 28 for the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in Washington, D.C. The conference will be the first of its kind in more than 50 years.

Report urges ‘radical systemic’ change in U.S. food and nutrition policy

With the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health weeks away, a broad group of advocates, academics and experts on Tuesday called for "radical systemic changes" in order to address food insecurity, diet-related disease and health inequities.(No paywall)

School lunch report: Shortages in supplies and labor

With a new academic year on the horizon, K through 12 food directors are ready with tricks to keep meals flowing, such as cutting pizza boxes and clamshell containers in half when lunch trays are not available, said a report by the School Nutrition Association on Tuesday. "The supply chain crisis, labor shortages and high costs are a long-term reality for school meal programs," said SNA president Lori Adkins.

Another increase in USDA reimbursements for school meals

Responding to food inflation, the Agriculture Department said it would increase reimbursements to schools by about $1.3 billion for meals served during the 2022/23 academic year compared to the past school year. Schools would receive an additional $3 billion under a school nutrition bill passed by Congress last month.

FDA says it will permanently streamline infant formula imports

A crash program to streamline U.S. imports of infant formula has worked so well, the FDA will make it permanent, said agency leaders on Wednesday. The program, which began in May when domestic supplies ran low, has resulted in shipments from nine countries of enough formula to fill 400 million 8-ounce bottles.

USDA funds to help schools buy food

The Biden administration said it would provide an additional $943 million in USDA funds to schools so they can purchase American-grown food for their meal programs.

Biden signs school nutrition extension, averting potential ‘summer hunger crisis’

Before leaving Washington for summit meetings in Europe, President Biden signed into law a $3-billion extension of school nutrition waivers. Proponents said the extension would prevent "a summer hunger crisis" and called for Congress to expand the school food program, rather than limit access.

Advocates say a hungry summer looms if Congress can’t extend school meal waivers

Summer is always the hungry season for America’s children — when school is not in session, many students don’t get enough to eat. But anti-hunger groups are warning this summer could be worse than usual, since many schools have been forced to scale back or eliminate their summer meals programs because the waivers that vastly expanded access to school food during the pandemic are set to expire on June 30, unless Congress takes action.(No paywall)

Flights to deliver 680,000 pounds of infant formula

The administration’s Operation Fly Formula will deliver 680,000 pounds of infant formula from makers in Great Britain and Australia beginning on June 9, said the White House on Wednesday. The deliveries would be the equivalent of 8.3 million 8-ounce bottles of formula.

Nutrition waivers reduced child hunger, say big school districts

School nutrition officials overwhelmingly agree that USDA waivers reduced child hunger during the pandemic by making meals free to all students, said a report by the antihunger group Food Research and Action Center on Tuesday. FRAC said Congress ought to pass legislation for universal free school meals or extend the USDA waivers, due to expire on June 30, through the 2022-23 school year.

Second load of specialty infant formula to arrive within days

The Biden administration's "Operation Fly Formula" will deliver 114 pallets of specialty infant formula to the United States within days in a rapid follow-up to the first load of 132 pallets on Sunday, said the White House. The flights, arranged through the Pentagon, are intended to ease shortages across the nation.

Baby formula industry was primed for disaster long before key factory closed down

The closure of the Similac factory may have lit the fuse for the nationwide shortage, but a combination of government policy, industry market concentration and supply chain issues supplied the powder.(No paywall)

Free school meals will end with the school year, lawmakers decide

Pandemic-fighting waivers that allow schools to serve meals for free to all students will expire on June 30, House and Senate appropriators agreed on Wednesday, despite a campaign to continue universal free meals in the upcoming 2022-23 school year. An anti-hunger advocate said that millions of children will “face a hunger cliff when they lose access to summer and school meals.”

School Nutrition Association says go slow on nutrition overhaul

Next fall, the Biden administration will propose new nutrition standards for school meals, the the first attempt to strengthen the rules since 2012. Health advocates are already starting to make their wish lists known—further lowering sodium, making meals more nutritious and, for the first time ever, capping the amount of added sugar in food served to students. (No paywall)

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