April 1, 2022
Washington, DC – The International Fresh Produce Association applauds the introduction yesterday of a new bill authored by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, focused on extending U.S. Department of Agriculture school meal flexibilities from June 30, 2022 to September 30, 2023.
These flexibilities have allowed schools to serve student meals, including summer meals, at no charge to students throughout the pandemic. As challenges persist throughout the supply chain, the extension will provide schools with needed stability and most importantly, ensure all children have access to a nutritious meal during a time of uneven recovery.
“Nine out of 10 schools report encountering operational challenges as they try to return to pre-pandemic meal service. The data show that school lunch is the healthiest meal most students will receive through the course of a day. This bill will give schools a little breathing room as we all figure out what the new normal will look like. The worst mistake we could make is denying a hungry child a healthy meal as we recalibrate,” said IFPA Vice President of Nutrition and Health Mollie Van Lieu.
“We thank Senators Stabenow and Murkowski for their unwavering leadership on child nutrition and look forward to continued collaboration with stakeholders to ensure that school nutrition programs have the resources they need.”
Nutrition policy is a priority for IFPA and the organization is steadfastly committed to collaborating with Congress and the Administration to aggressively prioritize nutrition to improve dietary quality for all Americans.