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Release No.

Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

FLINT, Mich., April 8, 2016 – Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced $26.9 million in grant funds to be distributed among eight grantees to continue administering pilots of the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) programs, providing summertime nutrition assistance to children who receive free and reduced price meals during the school year. In addition to funding existing pilots for summer 2016, these grants will extend benefits to new rural areas, Tribal Nations, and areas of extreme need including Flint, Michigan. Concannon made the announcement at an event at Haskell Youth Center in Flint, encouraging students to use good nutrition as a way to help mitigate the negative health impacts of the water crisis.

"While students from low income households have consistent access to nutritious meals during the academic year through the school meals programs, they are more vulnerable to food insecurity when school is out for the summer," said Concannon. "USDA's Summer EBT pilots have shown that students who participate in Summer EBT are better nourished throughout the summer months. This is especially important in Flint, where good nutrition is a crucial tool in mitigating the absorption of lead."

Summer EBT provides a monthly benefit on a debit-type card that can be used throughout the summer for food purchases at authorized stores. Summer EBT is a complement to traditional summer meals programs, which offer no cost summer meals at approved sites, and is especially valuable in areas with limited or no access to traditional summer meals programs. Given the critical need for good nutrition to mitigate the impacts of the water crisis, USDA is providing Michigan with grant funds to expand Summer EBT to Flint for this coming summer. Over 15,000 Flint students who have been affected by the water crisis will be eligible to receive a $30 benefit package each summer month. These students will also receive information on nutritious foods that may help mitigate lead absorption.

Summer EBT, which is currently operating as demonstration project, was first funded by Congress in 2010. Rigorous evaluations of these pilots found that Summer EBT can significantly reduce very low food security among children, the most severe form of food insecurity, by one-third. Studies also showed that these additional resources enabled families to eat more healthfully, eating significantly more fruits and vegetables and whole grains – key building blocks to better health. Based on these proven successes, the President's proposed plan would allow Summer EBT to reach nearly 20 million children once fully implemented.

This year's grantees include Cherokee Nation, Chickasaw Nation, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, and Oregon. All eight grantees participated in Summer EBT in 2015; however, their 2016 projects are aiming to serve over 250,000 children total, nearly 90 percent more, or over 120,000 additional children, than in 2015. Six grantees proposed to expand their programs in rural areas (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Delaware, Missouri, Nevada, and Oregon), building on the significant rural and tribal expansion that began in 2015. Two grantees (Michigan and Missouri) will expand in areas of extreme need, which in addition to Flint include Detroit, MI and Ferguson, MO.

During the academic year, free and reduced price school meals help ensure nearly 22 million low-income children have consistent access to nutritious food through the National School Lunch Program. However, only approximately one-fifth of those children currently participate in summer meal programs. USDA's efforts to expand and enhance both the traditional summer meals programs and Summer EBT are working to fill that gap. Since this administration took office, USDA has served more than 1.2 billion summer meals to kids in need.

In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act with bipartisan support to help ensure all American children have the nutritious food they need to perform well in school and grow into healthy adults. The law is working and we are already beginning to see signs of changing diets among children with over 97 percent of schools report that they are successfully meeting the updated nutrition standards.

This announcement is part of USDA's continued commitment to ensuring children and families have access to a healthy diet. Over the last six years, USDA has made historic improvements in many of its nutrition assistance programs. Some examples include, updated nutrition standards for school nutrition, the updated WIC package to include whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables, expanding the scope of the SNAP nutrition education program, and supporting an unprecedented growth in the number of farmers markets that accept SNAP and WIC benefits.

In total, FNS administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that, together, comprise America's nutrition safety net. They include, as mentioned above, WIC, SNAP, summer meals programs, and more. For more information, visit


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users). 

Release No.
FNS 0001-15

FNS Office of the Chief Communications Officer (703) 305-2281

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a proposed rule today with new science-based nutrition standards for meals provided through USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). With over 3 million children receiving meals from the CACFP each day, the proposed meal patterns will help ensure children have access to healthy, balanced meals throughout the day.  The rule will also provide older adults and adults in nonresidential daycare settings greater access to nutritious foods.

Under the proposed rule, meals served to children and adults in day care will include a greater variety of vegetables and fruits, more whole grains, and less sugar and fat. These changes support the ongoing efforts of numerous parents, and the many public and private organizations that serve children, to solve the current obesity crisis. Today’s proposal is the first major update of the CACFP meal patterns since the program's inception in 1968.

USDA designed meal pattern changes that would not increase cost for providers. The proposal focuses on incremental changes that reflect the science behind the nutritional needs of CACFP’s diverse participants, and are practical and achievable for the program’s varied service providers to implement.  Along with the updated meal patterns, USDA is proposing best practices as a guide for providers when choosing to take additional steps to offer high-quality and nutritious meals in their program.

“With over one in five children under the age of five being overweight or obese, the proposed improvements to the CACFP meal patterns will help safeguard the health of children early in their lives,” Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon said. “Providing children access to nutritious food early in life helps instill healthy habits that can serve as a foundation for a lifetime of healthy choices.”

Mandated by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the proposed meal pattern updates delivered to the Federal Register today for publication next week are designed to work in concert with USDA’s school meals standards, now implemented in schools across the country. Additionally, the proposed changes support breastfeeding and improve access to healthy beverages, including water and low-fat and fat-free milk. These updated meal patterns are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, scientific recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, and stakeholder input.

CACFP contributes to the nutritious foods that young children need for healthy growth, development, and wellness. Each day, the program provides millions of meals and snacks to children in their regular day care, children residing in emergency shelters, youth participating in afterschool programs, and participants in adult day care programs. While data shows childhood obesity rates are starting to level off, the proposed CACFP meal patterns are critical to creating stronger community nutrition programs and continuing successful obesity prevention efforts to help our youngest children learn to enjoy healthy foods and resolve the obesity problem.

“Not only does this program ensure nutritious meals for children,” Concannon said, “It also enables child care providers to sustain their businesses and provide affordable care to low income families.”

USDA is seeking input on the proposed rule from the public.  Those interested in reviewing the proposal and offering comments during the 90 day period are encouraged to do so once it is published at, a Web-based portal to make it easy for citizens to participate in the federal rulemaking process. All comments received will be considered carefully in finalizing the rule before it is implemented.

The Child and Adult Care Food Program is one of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, and the Summer Food Service Program. These programs touch the lives of one in four Americans each year and, taken together, comprise America’s nutrition safety net.

For more information about the proposed changes, please visit:




USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

Release No.
FNS 0013.14

FNS Office of the Chief Communications Officer (703) 305-2281

Nationwide Implementation of Community Eligibility Provision Yields Increased Participation, Reduced Administrative Burden for Schools

FRESNO, Calif., Dec. 9, 2014 -- Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced that more than half of the nation’s high-poverty schools are now offering breakfasts and lunches to students at no cost through the new Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), made possible by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.  The provision improves access to nutritious meals for low-income students while reducing administrative burdens for households and schools.

“This initiative reduces hunger among children in high-poverty areas, and ensures students have access to the healthy food they need to succeed in school,” Concannon said during a visit to Fresno’s Edison Computech Middle School. “USDA is encouraged by the initial response of eligible schools and districts during this first year of nationwide implementation.”

The provision provides an alternative to household applications for free and reduced price meals and reduces the burden of collecting funds and maintaining accounts for the few students who pay for school meals. To qualify, schools or districts must have at least 40 percent of the total student enrollment directly certified for free meals, based on their participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or other means-tested assistance programs. Meal costs are shared between the federal government and the school or district.

In school year 2014-15, the first year of national implementation, 51.5 percent of eligible schools are participating in CEP . This means that nearly 14,000 schools in more than 2,000 school districts across the country are offering nutritious meals at no cost to more than 6.4 million students. In addition, 70 percent of school districts opting for CEP have elected to implement the provision district-wide.

Across the country, schools and districts of all sizes that have implemented CEP are seeing increased participation in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, and are serving more meals than in previous years. Some school districts have seen participation increase by as much as 37 percent. So far this year, the Fresno Unified School District has seen a 4 percent increase in meals served to nearly 71,000 students.                                                                                                                                                

“This is a strong first step, but we know there are still many eligible schools that can benefit from CEP,” Concannon said.  “We continue to work with our national, state, and local partners to ensure that non-participating schools know of the benefits that CEP can provide to their communities.”

CEP was phased-in over a three-year period, starting in School Year 2011-12 in school districts across the country, including Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. The provision became available to eligible schools and districts nationwide beginning July 1, 2014. Districts now have until June 30 each year to elect to participate in CEP for some of all of their schools during the following school year.  For more information on CEP, please visit:


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).


Release No.

USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act with bipartisan support to help ensure every American child has to the nutritious food they need to perform well in school and grow into healthy adults. With one-third of American children obese or overweight, the law was designed to help reduce America's childhood obesity epidemic and cut down on other health risks for America's children. The Healthy, Hungry Free Kids Act helps schools across the country produce balanced meals that meet basic health standards based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine.

Now, just as childhood obesity rates are finally starting to level off, House Republicans are trying to rollback healthy meal standards and undermine efforts to provide kids with more nutritious food. But more and more leaders are voicing strong support for keeping healthy meals in schools, including: the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Parent Teacher Association and teachers' organizations, retired generals concerned about our country's military readiness, newspaper editorial boards across the country, 19 past presidents of the School Nutrition Association, and many others are all voicing strong support for healthy school meals.


Here's what others are saying about the need to keep healthy meals for kids in America's schools:

First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama:

"When we began our Let's Move! initiative four years ago, we set one simple but ambitious goal: to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation so that kids born today will grow up healthy... Back in 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which set higher nutritional standards for school lunches, also based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine. Today, 90 percent of schools report that they are meeting these new standards. As a result, kids are now getting more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other foods they need to be healthy. This is a big win for parents who are working hard to serve their kids balanced meals at home and don't want their efforts undermined during the day at school. And it's a big win for all of us since we spend more than $10 billion a year on school lunches and should not be spending those hard-earned taxpayer dollars on junk food for our children." – Opinion column, The Campaign for Junk Food, May 28, 2014

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and former Bush Administration Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman:

"Four years ago, Congress, in a strong bipartisan effort, committed to America's children that they would enjoy healthier and more nutritious meals at school. Sadly, just as we are beginning to see the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 succeed, some in Congress want to step back from that commitment. Now is not the time to backpedal on a healthier future for our kids. Two-thirds of adults and one-third of American children are overweight or obese. The cost of treating obesity-related illnesses is $190.2 billion per year, dragging down our economy and increasing budget deficits. If nothing changes, this generation of children will be the first to live shorter lives than their parents." – Jointly authored opinion column, Don't Play Politics with Children's Health, The Hill, May 29, 2014

School Nutrition Association Past Presidents Initiative (19 former presidents of the School Nutrition Association, in a letter to Congress):

"We the undersigned past presidents of the School Nutrition Association, understand that major change takes time and a commitment to the goal that prompted the change. We believe most communities and schools want school nutrition programs that help children learn to enjoy healthy foods. We are confident that the broad public support for HHFKA and USDA's demonstrated willingness to work with school leaders to solve implementation issues will prevail and create stronger school nutrition programs."

Mission: Readiness:

"We all know that obesity rates among children have increased dramatically in recent decades. This is not only a serious health concern for these children, it has also affected who can join the military: more than one in five young Americans is too overweight to enlist; and being overweight or obese is the leading medical reason why young adults cannot join the military...We are at an important juncture. Schools are capable of serving healthier foods and the vast majority are already doing so. Congress should resist efforts to derail continued implementation of science-based nutrition guidelines for school meals and snacks. Together, we can make sure that America's child obesity crisis does not become a national security crisis." – Retired Major General Tracy Strevey, Jr., MD, former Commander of U.S. Army Health Services Command

National Parent Teacher Association:

"Implementation of provisions included in the last reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act - the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act - continues to be a top priority for National PTA. The law dramatically improves the quality of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, increases the reimbursement rate for meals served, supports community efforts to reduce childhood hunger, establishes nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools, and includes improvements to strengthen Local Wellness Policies (LWPs)." – Otha Thornton, President

National Education Association:

"National Education Association strongly supports the school meal nutrition standards in the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. These common-sense requirements are essential to ensuring all children a healthy and successful start in life, particularly those whose families cannot afford to provide fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods at home on a regular basis. The benefits and cost-savings to our children and our nation in the long-run will be significant." – Dennis Van Roekel, President

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

"After only one year post-implementation, 90 percent of schools are meeting the new lunch standards. But with change comes challenges, and the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was no exception. There is now a debate in the House to make changes to impede this progress. With the positive results, we have seen already, let's work together to help the remaining schools cross the finish line." – President, Sonja L Connor, MS, RDN, LD, President-Elect, Evelyn F Crayton, EdD, RDN, LDN, Past President, Dr. Glenna R McCollum, MPH, RDN and Chief Executive Officer, Patricia M Babjak, GSLIS

American Medical Association:

"Obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are very real challenges facing far too many of our kids and the American Medical Association supports ongoing steps to improve their overall health and nutrition, including healthier school meals and reduced consumption of sugar sweetened beverages. Congress should not undermine the Institute of Medicine's science-based standards that were developed to ensure kids are eating healthy food while in school. Schools should be safe zones where kids learn healthy habits based on the best available science, and not undermined by politics or corporate influence." – Ardis Dee Hoven, President

American Academy of Pediatrics:

"On behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a non-profit professional organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists, and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety, and well-being of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults, I write to urge you to maintain the nutritional standards and scientific integrity of the school meals program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC." – James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP, President

American Heart Association/American Stroke Association:

On behalf of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and its more than 22 million volunteers, I am writing to express our strong support for the school food nutrition standards set forth by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. We vigorously opposed any attempt to eliminate or roll back policies such as the whole grain and sodium standards, fruits and vegetable servings, and Smart Snacks implementation. Delaying or even abolishing these standards puts our children's health in jeopardy and sets them on an early path to heart disease, stroke, disability, and early death. – Nancy Brown, CEO

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network:

For decades, Congress has wisely ensured that federal child nutrition programs have been guided by science. ACS CAN, along with 100 national organizations and many more state and local groups, oppose attempts to use the appropriations process to change or weaken the federal child nutrition programs, including the proposed school meal waivers and changes to the WIC program requirements. We believe that the federal child nutrition programs should be guided by science, rather than politics. – Chris Hansen, President

Alliance for a Healthier Generation:

As we soon close out the 2013 – 2014 school year, we should be celebrating-not rolling back-the great progress that schools have made toward implementing the USDA's school nutrition standards. Nationwide, we know that over 90% of schools are meeting or exceeding the nutrition standards for school meals established in 2012. This is a significant win for the health of our children and proof that positive change is possible. – Howell Wechsler, CEO

Trust for America's Health:

"We urge Congress to oppose any provisions that would attempt to roll back school nutrition standards-and, in so doing, decrease access to healthy foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables and increase the consumption of salt, sugar and fat. With more than 90 percent of participating schools reporting success in meeting nutrition standards set forth by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, for the first time in decades, children are eating healthier at school." – Jeffrey Levi, PhD, Executive Director

United Fresh Produce Association:

"The fresh produce industry stands ready to support school foodservice directors in implementing the fruit and vegetable requirements. Serving one-half cup of fruits and vegetables, in ways that kids love and want to eat, is one goal that we are already accomplishing together. We commit to providing school foodservice directors with technical assistance, training in produce procurement and handling, and sharing best practices of what's working in thousands of schools across the country. This should not be a partisan issue for rancorous debate. We can all stand together to put the health of America's children first, while giving schools the technical support they need to comply with these very basic standards. Please do not vote to cut out one-half cup of fruits and vegetables from school meals. Without at least one serving of a fruit or vegetable, I don't believe we could even call it a meal. We urge you to support any amendments in the full Committee that would preserve these critical nutrition standards." – Thomas E. Stenzel, President and CEO

American Federation of Teachers:

"Our kids come first. That is why communities, parents, food service workers, and educators came together, demanded change, and supported access to healthier meals for all students. These standards are now in place and are working. The American Federation of Teachers is proud to stand with first lady Michelle Obama, advocates, parents, food service workers, teachers, school support staff and communities against any roll back of the current nutrition standards for school meals." – Randi Weingarten, President

Members of the Faith Community:

"As members of the faith community, we write to express our opposition to efforts to revise federal child nutrition programs through the appropriations process and urge you to ensure these nutrition programs continue to be based on the best available nutritional science, not special or political interests." – 18 Members of the Faith Community

The New York Times:

"Republicans on a powerful House committee have balked at requiring all schools to serve healthy lunches in the coming school year. The action drew a well-deserved rebuke from the first lady, Michelle Obama, who has focused public attention on combating obesity among young people through exercise and better nutrition. Let's hope the Senate holds out against such inanity... The guidelines are not all that difficult to meet; 90 percent of the nation's schools have been able to do so." – Editorial, Bad Food in School Cafeterias, June 1, 2014

The Washington Post:

"The Federal government spends more than $10 billion a year on the National School Lunch Program, which serves more than 30 million students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For that, taxpayers should expect schools not to feed their children junk. That was the reasonable logic behind a 2010 law requiring stronger federal standards on school lunches - a law that Republicans in the House just voted to undercut... Given that a third of American children and teenagers are overweight or obese, this initiative is common sense... Ripping a hole in the law would be a mistake." – Editorial, GOP Would Allow Schools to Opt Out of Nutritional Standards for Students' Lunches May 20, 2014

USA Today:

"This would be a major, and unnecessary, step backward in the effort to make school lunches healthier. Any legitimate problems should be fixable with minor adjustments and some flexibility from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There's no need for congressional involvement." – Editorial, Food Fight in Congress Threatens Our Kids May 29, 2014


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).