Text: H.R.4333 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (12/16/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 4333


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


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

December 16, 2009

Mr. Farr (for himself, Mr. Putnam, Ms. Richardson, Mr. Blumenauer, Mr. Kagen, Mr. Michaud, Ms. Jackson-Lee of Texas, Mr. Hinchey, Ms. Matsui, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, Mr. Moran of Virginia, Mr. Costa, Mr. Serrano, Mr. Courtney, Ms. Hirono, and Mrs. Capps) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor, and in addition to the Committee on Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


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.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Children’s Fruit and Vegetable Act of 2009”.

SEC. 2. Findings and purpose.

(a) Findings.—Congress finds the following:

(1) Children eat less than half of the daily fruits and vegetables recommended for good health by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To meet those guidelines designed to promote the health of children and to lower their risks of chronic disease and obesity, children need to double their fruit and vegetable intake. According to the background and purpose of those guidelines many specific disease and conditions are linked to poor diet and that nutrient supplements cannot replace a healthful diet. The report notes that “an array of evidence points to beneficial health effects” from the increased intake of fruits and vegetables.

(2) Published analysis of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans notes that increased intakes of fruit, vegetables, are likely to have important health benefits for most Americans. For this reason, the Secretary of Agriculture should engage in effective marketing, communications, and training focused on sharing best practices that result in school children eating more fruits and vegetables.

(3) Schools participating in the national school lunch program established under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) or the school breakfast program established under the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771, et seq.) are required to serve meals that are consistent with 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). However, Nutrition Standards and Meal Requirements for the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program, have not been updated since 1995.

(4) Most schools participating in school meal programs currently serve meals that contain fewer fruits and vegetables than recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans published in 2005 under section 301 of the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 5341).

(5) The Institute of Medicine’s publication entitled School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children Report (October 20, 2009), recommends that (1) the amount of fruit served in school breakfast be doubled to one cup, and (2) the amount of fruits and vegetables in school lunch be doubled to one cup of fruit and one cup of vegetables every day, and that the variety of vegetables served be increased, emphasizing dark green and orange vegetables. The Institute of Medicine’s recommendations will align the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans published in 2005 under section 301 of the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 5341) and promote children’s health. The Institute of Medicine’s report also recognizes that improving the quality of school meals, such as adding more fruits and vegetables, will require additional cafeteria equipment, such as refrigeration, salad bar, and fruit and vegetable bars.

(6) An important goal of the Federal school lunch and breakfast programs should include improving the eating habits of children so they can meet recommendations set forth in the most recent version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

(7) According to a University of California-Los Angeles School of Public Health study published in 2007 (Public Health Nutrition 10:1490–1496) by Dr. Wendelin Slusser, M.D., et al. and later confirmed by additional research presented by Dr. Havinder Sareen, PhD, MPH to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in February 2009, children who have access to salad bars or fruit and vegetable bars in their school cafeteria eat more fruits and vegetables.

(8) According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture only approximately 3 percent of fruits and vegetables purchased for the school lunch program through the Agricultural Marketing Services commodity purchase program are fresh. The Secretary of Agriculture is piloting a fresh-cut sliced apple program to test the feasibility of purchasing, under authority of section 32 of Public Law 74–320, as amended (7 U.S.C. 612c), a wide variety of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables for school meal programs. According to the Agricultural Marketing Service press release from September 17, 2009, the fresh-cut sliced apple pilot program is a tremendous achievement and is extraordinarily popular with schools. The Secretary plans to expand the fresh-cut apple program and pilot test a baby carrot program during the Fall of 2009.

(9) The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) (Public Law 111–5) provided a one time investment of $100 million for equipment assistance to school food authorities participating in the National School Lunch Program. This is the first Federal infrastructure investment for cafeteria equipment in 25 years. Total requests from schools for cafeteria equipment through the ARRA exceeded $650 million indicating a strong unmet need for Federal support to help schools for equipment that lends itself to improving the quality of school food service meals that meet the Dietary Guidelines.

(10) The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program established under Section 19 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1769a, et seq.) has demonstrated successfully that children like fresh fruits and vegetables and will increase their consumption when a variety of high quality fresh fruits and vegetables are available to them in school.

(11) Policy initiatives, such as the Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program, which are designed to improve the school food environment and children’s eating habits, should be reinforced with training and technical assistance for schools to improve program effectiveness.

(b) Purpose.—The purpose of this Act is to establish a national strategy to improve the nutritional quality of school meals served by schools participating in the school lunch program established under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) or the school breakfast program established under established under the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq.) by increasing access to and consumption of fruits and vegetables by children enrolled in the schools through—

(1) the promotion of the use of salad bars, or fruit and vegetable bars, as a strategy to increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption;

(2) the expansion of the amount of fruits and vegetables purchased by the Secretary of Agriculture for use in school meals, emphasizing fruits and vegetables that are popular with students;

(3) effective training and technical assistance, emphasizing best practices, that will—

(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) infrastructure investment for purchasing cafeteria equipment specifically targeted for increasing access to fruits and vegetables and improve the quality of school food service meals that 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.

SEC. 3. Definition.

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

SEC. 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 by adding at the end the following—

“(j) Establishing salad bars and fruit and vegetable bars.—

“(1) MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS PLAN.—Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of the Children’s Fruit and Vegetable Act of 2009, the Secretary shall establish and implement 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.

“(2) TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—In carrying out the plan described in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall provide training and technical assistance to State educational agencies and schools on how 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 (2004).

“(3) INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—In carrying out the plan described in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall develop a program to provide grants to State educational agencies to encourage schools in such agencies 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.—The Secretary shall allocate funds to each State educational agency in accordance with a formula developed by the Secretary, which shall provide for 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.—Each State educational agency receiving a grant under this subsection shall use the grant funds to—

“(i) award schools in such State educational agency a one-time payment equal to the anticipated cost of setting up and operating a salad bar or fruit and vegetable bar, or $7,500, whichever is less; and

“(ii) shall impose appropriate audit and reporting requirements, and other procedures to ensure that funds provided to schools by the agency under this subsection have been properly used and shall recover unused funds, as appropriate.

“(4) EVALUATION AND REPORT.—Not later than 18 months following the establishment and execution of the plan described in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall prepare and submit a report to the Committee on Education and Labor, the Committee on Agriculture, and the Committee on Appropriations, of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, of the Senate, which describes—

“(A) how the plan has been executed; and

“(B) the number of schools that have new salad bars or fruit and vegetable bars as a result of such plan.

“(5) MANDATORY SPENDING.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—Out of the funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the Secretary of Treasury shall provide to the Secretary of Agriculture by October 15 of each of fiscal years 2011 through 2012 the amount of $10,000,000 and the Secretary of Agriculture shall accept and use such funds to implement this subsection.

“(B) ADDITIONAL AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There are authorized to be appropriated, in addition to the mandatory funding under subparagraph (A) for each of the fiscal years listed in such subparagraph, such sums as are necessary to carry out this subsection, to remain available until expended.”.

SEC. 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 establish and implement a plan to identify and remove barriers to facilitate the equitable purchase of fruits and vegetables within the procurement and distribution systems administered by Secretary, acting through the Agricultural Marketing Service of the Department of Agriculture.  The plan shall seek to 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.

(b) Evaluation and Report.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall evaluate and report to the appropriate committees of Congress recommendations to reduce or eliminate the barriers identified pursuant to subsection (a).

SEC. 6. Best practices to improve effectiveness of fresh fruit and vegetable program.

Section 19(i)(6)(A) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1769a) is amended to read as follows:

“(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 administrative costs of carrying out this program, including national and regional training conferences emphasizing sharing best practices, and providing technical assistance. Such training programs may also include strategies and best practices for increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables in other school meals programs.”.

SEC. 7. Improving the quality of school meals through rulemaking.

Not later than 24 months after the date of receiving the review initiated by the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine in February 2008 of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program Meal Patterns and Nutrient Standards authorized under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751), 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 such review.

SEC. 8. Equipment assistance grants.

(a) Program authorized.—From the amount appropriated under subsection (e), the Secretary shall provide funds to States, according to the allocation formula described in subsection (b), for the purpose of awarding grants, on a competitive basis, to school food authorities to provide equipment assistance to schools participating in the school lunch program established under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.).

(b) Allocation Formula.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—From the amount appropriated under subsection (e), the Secretary shall allocate funds to States in a manner proportional with each State’s administrative expense allocation 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 such funds to other States in amounts the Secretary determines necessary.

(c) Applications.—

(1) STATES.—To qualify to receive an allocation of funds 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 qualify to receive a grant under this section, 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. Such application shall demonstrate to the State that such school food authority serves schools that have a need for equipment assistance.

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

(e) Authorization of appropriations and Appropriation.—Out of any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the Secretary of the Treasury shall provide to the Secretary $100,000,000 to carry out this section, to remain available until expended.

(f) Definition.—In this section, the term “equipment” means any equipment needed to prepare, process, and store food for the school lunch program established under this Act.

SEC. 9. Farm to school program.

(a) Amendment.—The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 19, the following:

“SEC. 19A. Farm-to-school program.

“(a) In general.—From the amount appropriated under subsection (h), the Secretary shall carry out a program provide assistance, through competitive matching grants and technical assistance, to schools and nonprofit entities to carry out farm-to-school programs that improve access to local foods in schools and institutions participating in programs under this Act and section 4 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1773) through farm to school activities, including the purchase of local food, establishment of effective relationships between school and institutional food service providers, distributors, and producers or groups of producers, school gardens, appropriate equipment, and the provision of training and education.

“(b) Purposes of farm-to-School programs.—Farm-to-school programs are designed to—

“(1) improve the nutritional health and well being of children;

“(2) procure healthy local foods from small and medium-sized farms for meals at eligible schools and institutions;

“(3) support experiential nutrition education activities and curriculum planning that incorporates the participation of school children in farm and garden-based agricultural education activities;

“(4) develop a sustained commitment to farm to school projects in the community by linking schools and institutions, State and local agencies including Indian Tribal Organizations, institutions of higher education, agricultural producers, parents, community garden groups and other community stakeholders; and

“(5) increase farm income by facilitating farmers’ access to institutional markets including schools.

“(c) Grants.—

“(1) COMPETITIVE BASIS.—A grant under this section shall be awarded on a competitive basis.

“(2) TYPES OF GRANTS.—A grant under this section may be—

“(A) an implementation grant to support the cost of implementing a farm-to-school program;

“(B) a training and technical assistance grant to provide the training, operational support, information, and access to resources necessary to implement a success farm-to-school program; or

“(C) a planning grant to support the cost of conducting research, identifying resources, and developing partnerships to design a successful and sustainable farm-to-school program.

“(3) AMOUNT.—The total amount provided under this section to a grant recipient shall not exceed—

“(A) in the case of an implementation or training and technical assistance grant, $100,000; and

“(B) in the case of a planning grant, $25,000.

“(4) TERM.—A grant under this section may not be awarded for a period of more than—

“(A) in the case of an implementation or training and technical assistance grant, 2 years; and

“(B) in the case of a planning grant, 1 year.

“(5) COST SHARE.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—The amount of a grant made under this section shall not exceed 75 percent of the cost of—

“(i) in the case of an implementation grant, implementing a farm-to-school program;

“(ii) in the case of a training and technical assistance grant, providing the training, operational support, information, and access to resources necessary to implement a success farm-to-school program; and

“(iii) in the case of a planning grant, conducting research, identifying resources and developing partnerships to design a successful and sustainable farm-to-school program.

“(B) NON-FEDERAL SUPPORT.—A grant recipient under this section shall be required to provide not more than 25 percent of the cost of the applicable activities described in subparagraph (A) in the form of cash or in-kind contributions (including facilities, equipment, training, or services provided by State and local governments and private sources).

“(d) Evaluation.—An grant recipient under this section shall agree to cooperate in an evaluation carried out by the Secretary.

“(e) Regional balance.—In making awards and providing technical assistance under this section, the Secretary shall to the maximum extent practicable, ensure—

“(1) geographical diversity; and

“(2) equitable treatment of urban, rural, and tribal communities.

“(f) Technical assistance.—

“(1) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE BY SECRETARY.—The Secretary shall provide grant recipients technical assistance and information to further the purposes of this section.

“(2) TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—In the case of a recipient of a training and technical assistance grant under this section, the recipient shall use the funds available under the grant to provide training and technical assistance to an entity, including an institution of higher education, that desires to implement a farm-to-school program.

“(B) TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE ACTIVITIES.—The training and technical assistance shall—

“(i) be provided under such terms as the Secretary may require; and

“(ii) include providing the training, operational support, information, and access to resources necessary to implement a success farm-to-school program.

“(g) Proposals.—

“(1) REQUIREMENT FOR APPLICANTS.—An applicant that desires to receive a grant under this section shall submit to the Secretary a proposal at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

“(2) PROPOSAL REVIEW CRITERIA.—In making awards under this subsection, the Secretary shall form review panels described in paragraph (3) to evaluate proposals submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) based on the extent to which the proposed program—

“(A) makes local food products available on the menu of the school or institution;

“(B) benefits local small and medium-sized farms;

“(C) incorporates experiential nutrition education;

“(D) serves schools and eligible institutions with a high proportion of children who are eligible for free and reduced price lunches;

“(E) demonstrates collaboration between schools or institutions, non-governmental and community-based organizations, farmer groups, and other community partners;

“(F) demonstrates the potential for long-term program sustainability;

“(G) includes adequate and participatory evaluation plans; and

“(H) meets such other related criteria as the Secretary may determine relevant.

“(3) COMPETITIVE AWARD SELECTION.—In forming review panels to evaluate proposals submitted pursuant to paragraph (1), the Secretary shall include—

“(A) representatives of schools and eligible institutions;

“(B) registered dietitians;

“(C) operators of small and medium-sized farms;

“(D) public agencies;

“(E) non-governmental and community-based organizations with expertise in local food systems and farm to school programs; and

“(F) other appropriate parties as determined by the Secretary.

“(h) Funding.—Beginning on October 1, 2010, out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the Secretary of the Treasury shall transfer to the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out this subsection $10,000,000 each fiscal year, to remain available until expended.

“(i) Definition.—For purposes of this section, the term ‘institution of higher education’ has the meaning given such term in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001).”.

(b) Conforming amendment.—Section 18 of the Richard B. National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1769) is amended by repealing subsection (g).