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Caucus Co-chairs Call for CTE Exemption in USDA Nutrition Regulations


October 18, 2013


Caucus Co-chairs Call for CTE Exemption in USDA Nutrition Regulations

New rules proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) —authorized under the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010—will require all foods sold in schools to meet strict nutritional standards beginning in 2014. Though intended by Congress to target snack foods sold in vending machines, a la carte lines and school stores, these regulations could have a harmful effect on students in CTE culinary programs that operate student-run cafés, bakeries and catering businesses.

ACTE has been actively engaged on this issue for over a year, working with both the USDA and Congress to express our concerns with the proposed rule. Following a strong reaction from the CTE community, the USDA has said that it will consider granting waivers from the nutritional requirements for CTE programs on a case-by-case basis. While this waiver is a positive development that could provide relief to some CTE culinary programs, ACTE will continue to push for a full exemption for all affected CTE programs.

Leading the effort on Capitol Hill, Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI), the co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional CTE Caucus, are currently circulating a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting a special exemption for CTE culinary programs. “In order to secure gainful employment following graduation, students must be trained in all aspects of food preparation and service, including safe preparation guidelines, local health department requirements, and the technical skills associated with the culinary arts, along with every part of working in a commercial kitchen,” wrote the co-chairs. “We believe this common sense approach will both uphold the congressional intent behind the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and avoid diminishing future career opportunities for young learners.”

Take a few minutes to contact your representative and ask them to join Reps. Thompson and Langevin as a co-signer of this letter! Visit the CTE Action Center to send your Member of Congress a message now!

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