1. What is the state’s mission/vision in relation to providing quality child nutrition programs? To provide a framework for state assistance in the thorough integration of nutrition education, maximizing resources, and delivering accurate, positive, and consistent nutrition information. To provide an integrated nutrition education program contributing to a nutritionally knowledgeable public, motivated to making behavioral changes to promote optimal health and nutritional status.
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program operating in more than 98,000 public and nonprofit private schools and residential childcare institutions in the United States. Federal assistance allows a reimbursable meal, depending on family income, to be offered at no charge, reduced charge, and full paid meal price. The meal pattern for lunch provides one-third of the recommended daily allowance for children. The meal price for reduced price student can be no more than 40 cents. The full paid student and district staff is established yearly by the school system and approved by the local school board. In 2001, over 89,079,859 reimbursable lunches were sold in Alabama.
The School Breakfast Program is a federal entitlement program providing states with cash assistance for nonprofit breakfast. It was started in 1966 as a pilot project and made permanent in 1975. The meal pattern provides students one-fourth of their recommended daily allowance. Children from families at or below 130 percent of the Federal poverty level are eligible for free meals. Schools may not charge more than 30 cents for a reduced price breakfast. Schools set the rate for the paid students who pay full meal price. Any child at a participating school may purchase a meal through the School Breakfast Program. In 2001, over 150,627 breakfasts were served in Alabama.
Each school system participating in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program is required to provide an application to each student in the school district. Eligibility is determined based on family income. Families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free meals; families with income between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced price meals; and families with income over 185 percent of the poverty level pay full student price for meals.
Carbonated beverages are considered in the category of foods of minimal nutritional value by the USDA and are not allowed as part of the National School Lunch Program as per the NSLP Federal Regulation 7 CFR 210.
No foods of any type may be sold at any place on the school campus during meal service times, to include breakfast and lunch times. Neither may fundraisers be planned to occur just before the meal service in an effort to sell food items that would decrease participation in the school breakfast or school lunch program. All fund raisers should examine the items being sold and choices must promote good health. This includes the selling of food as students gather on the school campus before school begins or as students wait on transportation or otherwise exit the school campus following school dismissal. No fundraisers may sell foods of minimal nutritional value during the school day or as described above. All events outside the school day are exempt from this policy.
No fundraisers may sell foods of minimal nutritional value during the school day. All sales conducted after school hours are exempt from this policy. In any event, the label of the food item must be reviewed. The restrictions are that no food item with sugar or high fructose corn syrup may be available to children during school hours. Some chocolate does not have sugar listed as the first ingredient.
The policy prohibits “any food or beverage that has sugar or high fructose corn syrup listed as the first ingredient on the school premises until after the end of the last scheduled class”. This would not preclude a parent from bringing a birthday cake, cupcakes, or other baked items for a birthday party. It does preclude any use of soft drinks or sweetened beverages to such a celebration during the school day. It would be very important to read the label and make the determination if an item has the first ingredient listed as sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
This policy does not restrict what parents may provide for their own child’s breakfast, lunch, or snack. Parents may provide any item, including foods of minimum nutritional value for their own child’s consumption, but may not provide the restricted items to other children at school during the school day. However, a local school board or even an individual school may adopt a more restrictive policy and limit the items that a child may bring. It is best to check with your school for individual policies.