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S. 3144 (111th): A bill to amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to improve the health and well-being of school children, and for other purposes.


The text of the bill below is as of Mar 18, 2010 (Introduced).


II

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3144

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 18, 2010

(for herself and Mrs. Hagan) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

A BILL

To amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to improve the health and well-being of school children, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Healthy Food in Schools Act of 2010.

2.

Purpose

The purpose of this Act is to establish a national strategy to improve the nutritional quality of meals served by schools participating in the national school lunch and breakfast programs by increasing access to and the consumption of fruits and vegetables by children enrolled in the schools through—

(1)

promoting the use of salad bars or fruit and vegetable bars as a strategy to increase the fruit and vegetable consumption of children;

(2)

expanding the quantity of fruits and vegetables purchased by the Secretary for use in school meals, emphasizing fruits and vegetables that are popular with students;

(3)

implementing effective training and technical assistance emphasizing best practices that—

(A)

improve the implementation of the fresh fruit and vegetable program under section 19 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1769a); and

(B)

increase the availability and consumption of fruits and vegetables in school meals;

(4)

purchasing cafeteria equipment specifically intended—

(A)

to increase access to fruits and vegetables;

(B)

to improve the quality of school food service meals; and

(C)

to meet the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans published under section 301 of the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 5341); and

(5)

improving the quality of school meals.

3.

Definition

In this Act, the term Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture.

4.

Increasing access to fruits and vegetables in school cafeterias

Section 18 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1769) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating subsections (h) and (i) as subsections (i) and (j), respectively;

(2)

in subsection (g), by striking (g) Access to local foods and school gardens.— and all that follows through (3) Pilot program for high-poverty schools.— and inserting the following:

(g)

Access to local foods: farm to school program

(1)

Definition of eligible school

In this subsection, the term eligible school means a school or institution that participates in a program under this Act or the school breakfast program established under section 4 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1773).

(2)

Program

The Secretary shall carry out a program to assist eligible schools, State and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, agricultural producers or groups of agricultural producers, and nonprofit entities through grants and technical assistance to implement farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools.

(3)

Grants

(A)

In general

The Secretary shall award competitive grants under this subsection to be used for—

(i)

training;

(ii)

supporting operations;

(iii)

planning;

(iv)

purchasing equipment;

(v)

developing school gardens;

(vi)

developing partnerships; and

(vii)

implementing farm to school programs.

(B)

Regional balance

In making awards under this subsection, the Secretary shall, to the maximum extent practicable, ensure—

(i)

geographical diversity; and

(ii)

equitable treatment of urban, rural, and tribal communities.

(C)

Maximum amount

The total amount provided to a grant recipient under this subsection shall not exceed $100,000.

(4)

Federal share

(A)

In general

The Federal share of costs for a project funded through a grant awarded under this subsection shall not exceed 75 percent of the total cost of the project.

(B)

Federal Matching

As a condition of receiving a grant under this subsection, a grant recipient shall provide matching support in the form of cash or in-kind contributions, including facilities, equipment, or services provided by State and local governments, nonprofit organizations, and private sources.

(5)

Criteria for selection

To the maximum extent practicable, in providing assistance under this subsection, the Secretary shall give the highest priority to funding projects that, as determined by the Secretary—

(A)

benefit local small- and medium-sized farms;

(B)

make local food products available on the menu of the eligible school;

(C)

serve a high proportion of children who are eligible for free or reduced price lunches;

(D)

incorporate experiential nutrition education activities in curriculum planning that encourage the participation of school children in farm and garden-based agricultural education activities;

(E)

demonstrate collaboration between eligible schools, nongovernmental and community-based organizations, agricultural producer groups, and other community partners;

(F)

include adequate and participatory evaluation plans;

(G)

demonstrate the potential for long-term program sustainability; and

(H)

meet any other criteria that the Secretary determines appropriate.

(6)

Evaluation

As a condition of receiving a grant under this subsection, each grant recipient shall agree to cooperate in an evaluation by the Secretary of the program carried out using grant funds.

(7)

Technical assistance

The Secretary shall provide technical assistance and information to assist eligible schools, State and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, and nonprofit entities—

(A)

to facilitate the coordination and sharing of information and resources in the Department that may be applicable to the farm to school program;

(B)

to collect and share information on best practices; and

(C)

to disseminate research and data on existing farm to school programs and the potential for programs in underserved areas.

(8)

Funding

(A)

In general

On October 1, 2010, out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the Secretary of the Treasury shall transfer to the Secretary to carry out this subsection $50,000,000, to remain available until expended.

(B)

Receipt and acceptance

The Secretary shall be entitled to receive, shall accept, and shall use to carry out this subsection the funds transferred under subparagraph (A), without further appropriation.

(h)

Pilot Program for High-Poverty Schools

(1)

In general

;

(3)

in subsection (h) (as redesignated by paragraph (2))—

(A)

in subparagraph (F) of paragraph (1) (as so redesignated), by striking in accordance with paragraph (1)(H) and inserting carried out by the Secretary; and

(B)

by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph (2); and

(4)

by adding at the end the following:

(k)

Establishing salad bars and fruit and vegetable bars

(1)

In General

Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of the Healthy Food in Schools Act of 2010, the Secretary shall carry out a plan to promote the use of salad bars or fruit and vegetable bars in schools participating in the school lunch program established under this Act (referred to in this subsection as the plan).

(2)

Training and technical assistance

(A)

In general

In carrying out the plan, the Secretary shall provide training and technical assistance to State educational agencies and schools on the best manner in which to offer salad bars or fruit and vegetable bars.

(B)

Comprehensive guidance

In providing the training and technical assistance described in subparagraph (A), the Secretary may use relevant guidance provided in the publication of the Secretary entitled Fruits and Vegetables Galore: Helping Kids Eat More and dated 2004.

(3)

Infrastructure investment

(A)

In general

In carrying out the plan, the Secretary shall develop a program to provide grants to State educational agencies to encourage schools to purchase equipment and modify facilities for the purpose of setting up and operating salad bars or fruit and vegetable bars.

(B)

Allocation to State educational agencies

(i)

In General

The Secretary shall allocate funds to each State educational agency in accordance with a formula developed by the Secretary.

(ii)

Unused Funds

The formula developed in accordance with clause (i) shall provide for the reallocation of unused funds after the end of each fiscal year.

(C)

Application

To receive a grant under this subsection, a State educational agency shall submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(D)

State educational agency required uses of funds

As a condition on the receipt of a grant under this subsection, each State educational agency that receives a grant shall agree—

(i)

to use the grant funds to award schools in the State educational agency a 1-time payment equal to the lesser of—

(I)

the anticipated cost of setting up and operating a salad bar or fruit and vegetable bar; and

(II)

$7,500; and

(ii)

to impose appropriate auditing and reporting requirements and such other procedures as the Secretary may require to ensure that—

(I)

schools receiving a grant under this subsection properly use the funds; and

(II)

the agency recovers any unused funds.

(4)

Evaluation and report

(A)

In General

Not later than 18 months after the implementation of the plan, the Secretary shall submit a report to—

(i)

the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, of the Senate; and

(ii)

the Committee on Education and Labor, the Committee on Agriculture, and the Committee on Appropriations, of the House of Representatives.

(B)

Contents

The report submitted under subparagraph (A) shall include a description of—

(i)

the manner in which the plan has been implemented; and

(ii)

the number of schools that have new salad bars or fruit and vegetable bars as a result of the plan.

(5)

Funding

(A)

Mandatory funding

On October 1, 2010, and October 1, 2011, out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the Secretary of the Treasury shall transfer to the Secretary to carry out this section $10,000,000, to remain available until expended.

(B)

Authorization of appropriations

In addition to the amounts provided under subparagraph (A), there are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subsection such sums as are necessary, to remain available until expended.

.

5.

Identifying and Removing Barriers to the Purchase of Perishable Fruits and Vegetables

(a)

In general

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall carry out a plan to identify and remove barriers to the equitable purchase of fruits and vegetables in the procurement and distribution systems administered by the Secretary, acting through the Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service.  

(b)

Procurement and Distribution Systems Included

In developing the plan under subsection (a), the Secretary shall identify and remove barriers to the equitable purchase of fruits and vegetables at all levels of the procurement and distribution systems, including any barriers related to the initial surveys, bidding, transportation, handling, storage, and delivery to schools.

(c)

Evaluation and Report

Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report containing recommendations to reduce or eliminate the barriers identified under subsection (a).

6.

Best practices to improve effectiveness of fresh fruit and vegetable program

Section 19(i)(6) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1769a(i)(6)) is amended by striking subparagraph (A) and inserting the following:

(A)

In general

Of funds made available to carry out this section for a fiscal year, the Secretary may use not more than $500,000 for the administrative costs of carrying out the program, including—

(i)

carrying out national and regional training conferences that emphasize sharing best practices, including conferences intended to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables in other school meals programs; and

(ii)

providing technical assistance.

.

7.

Improving the quality of school meals

Not later than October 20, 2011, the Secretary shall promulgate a final rule updating the nutrition standards and meal requirements for school meal programs in a manner consistent with the findings of the review conducted by the Institute of Medicine and published in the document entitled School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children and dated October 20, 2009.

8.

Equipment assistance grants

(a)

Definition of equipment

In this section, the term equipment means any equipment needed to prepare, process, and store food for the school lunch program established under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.).

(b)

Grants

From the amounts made available under subsection (g), the Secretary shall provide funds to States in accordance with the allocation formula described in subsection (d).

(c)

Purpose

As a condition on the receipt of funds, each State that receives funds under this section shall award grants on a competitive basis to school food authorities to assist with the purchase of equipment for schools participating in the school lunch program established under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.).

(d)

Allocation Formula

(1)

In general

From the amounts made available under subsection (g), the Secretary shall allocate funds to States in a manner proportional with the administrative expense allocation of each State under section 7(a)(2) of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1776(a)(2)).

(2)

Reallocation

If a State does not receive funds under this subsection, the Secretary shall reallocate the funds that would have been allocated to that State to other States in such amounts as the Secretary determines appropriate.

(e)

Applications

(1)

States

To be eligible to receive funding under this section, a State shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(2)

School food authorities

To be eligible to receive a grant described in subsection (c), a school food authority shall submit an application to the applicable State at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the State may require, including assurances that the school food authority serves schools that have a need for equipment assistance.

(f)

Priority

In awarding grants described in subsection (c), a State shall give priority to school food authorities that have jurisdiction over schools in which not less than 50 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced price lunches under the school lunch program established under Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.).

(g)

Funding

On October 1, 2010, out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the Secretary of the Treasury shall transfer to the Secretary to carry out this section $100,000,000, to remain available until expended.

9.

Budgetary effects

The budgetary effects of this Act, for the purpose of complying with the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010, shall be determined by reference to the latest statement titled Budgetary Effects of PAYGO Legislation for this Act, submitted for printing in the Congressional Record by the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, provided that such statement has been submitted prior to the vote on passage.