Release No. 0632.10
USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623
Secretary Vilsack Statement on Passage of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act
WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today issued the
following statement regarding House passage of S. 3307 "The Healthy Hunger-Free
"This is an historic victory for our nation's youngsters. This legislation
will allow USDA, for the first time in over 30 years, the chance to make real
reforms to the school lunch and breakfast programs by improving the critical
nutrition and hunger safety net for millions of children.
"When President Obama first asked me to be the Secretary of Agriculture, he
identified healthier school meals as one my top priorities and together with
First Lady Michelle Obama's Lets Move! initiative, this administration has made
it a goal to end childhood obesity within in a generation
"Our national security, economic competitiveness and health and wellness of
our children will improve as a result of the action Congress took today."
"I applaud Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer, Chairman Miller, and Chairwoman
DeLauro for their leadership on this legislation."
The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act includes the following provisions which USDA
will begin implementing after President Obama signs the legislation:
- Upgrading nutritional standards for school meals by increasing the
federal reimbursement rate for school lunches by 6 cents for districts who
comply with federal nutrition standards. This is the first real
reimbursement rate increase in over 30 years.
- Improving the nutritional quality of all food in schools by
providingUSDA with the authority to set nutritional standards for all foods
sold in schools, including in vending machines, the "a la carte" lunch
lines, and school stores.
- Increases the number of eligible children enrolled in the school meals
programs by using Medicaid data to directly certify children who meet income
requirements without requiring individual applications connecting
approximately 115,000 new students to the school meals program.
- Enhances universal meal access for eligible children in high poverty
communities by eliminating paper applications and using census data to
determine school wide income eligibility.
- Provides more meals for at-risk children nationwide by allowing Child
and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) providers in all 50 states and the
District of Columbia to be reimbursed for providing a meal to at-risk
children after school paving the way for an additional 21 million meals to
- Empowering parents by requiringschools to make information more readily
available to parents about the nutritional quality of school meals, as well
as the results of any audits.
- Improving the quality of foods supplied to schools by buildingon and
further advancing the work USDA has been doing to improve the nutritional
quality of the commodities that schools get from USDA and use in their lunch
and breakfast programs.
- Improving WIC by making it easier for children to get recertified as
eligible for the program, requiring greater use of EBT technology (debit
cards), and expanding support for breastfeeding.