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ACTE and Bipartisan Group in Congress Weigh in on School Nutrition Regulations


October 31, 2013


ACTE and Bipartisan Group in Congress Weigh in on School Nutrition Regulations

The co-chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, Reps. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI), recently sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding proposed federal regulations that will require all foods sold in schools to meet strict new nutritional standards.  The Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010 gave the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the authority to create national nutritional requirements for “competitive” foods—those foods sold outside the school breakfast and lunch programs—that will be implemented at the beginning of 2014-15 school year.  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.

Reps. Thompson and Langevin are joined by a bipartisan group in the House of Representatives who are requesting that Sec. Vilsack provide a special exemption for CTE culinary programs. They write, “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.” The letter goes on to say, “Recognizing these programs as a unique category and granting them a very limited exception would in no way undermine the intent of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids act of 2010 or the National School Lunch Act.” A copy of the letter is available here.

ACTE has also provided comments to the USDA on the proposed regulations as part of our ongoing effort to address the concerns of the CTE community on this important issue. Our letter requests that the USDA offer an exemption for CTE programs and provides comments on other parts of the proposed regulations. Read ACTE’s comments here.

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