CNAC Meeting Minutes for April 13, 2015
Child Nutrition Advisory Council
An Advisory Body to the State Board Of Education
April 13, 2015
Nori Grossmann, Clell Hoffman, Carol Chase Huegli, Lawrence Herrera, John Shimko,
Cody Williams, Lucy McProud, Trish Vance, Barbara Rohrer, and Dena Boortz
State Board of Education Member Liaison
Representative for the State Board of Education
Helen Chang and Caroline Danielson
Also Present—California Department of Education
Michael Danzik, Kimberly Frinzell,
Lori Porter, and Kelley Knapp
Call to Order
Lawrence (Larry) Herrera, Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:15 a.m.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Members and other attendees introduced themselves. Niki Sandoval was connected to the meeting through conference call.
Approval of Agenda
Lucy McProud moved to approve the agenda for April 13, 2015. Barbara Rohrer seconded the motion. The Child Nutrition Advisory Council (CNAC) voted to approve the April 13, 2015 meeting agenda.
Approval of Minutes for the February 9, 2015, CNAC meeting
Lucy McProud moved to approve the minutes from the previous meeting, and John Shimko seconded the motion. The CNAC voted to approve the February 9, 2015 meeting minutes.
There was no public comment.
Carol Chase Huegli offered to provide legislative updates pertaining to nutrition during the NSD update because Alejandro Espinoza was unable to attend the meeting.
The CNAC moved to elect a vice chairperson at this time.
Ms. McProud nominated Nori Grossmann. Dena Boortz nominated John Shimko. Barbara Rohrer moved that the nominations be closed. Ms. McProud seconded the motion. Ms. Grossmann deferred. Mr. Shimko was unanimously elected and will serve as vice chairperson of the CNAC.
Subject: Member project and priority sharing
Barbara Rohrer stated that there are 42 districts in San Diego County, San Diego Unified School District being the largest. She shared that there was a commentary on a food conference for schools on PBS. Twelve states were represented. Food culture in schools is changing. San Diego County is taking advantage of home grown foods. Ms. Rohrer is not sure that San Diego Unified is growing food, but they do have access to it. They participate in the California Thursdays initiative. Additionally, the nonprofit, Ag PALS is in touch with 70 districts. They have been working to introduce hydroponic growing—the cultivation of plants by placing the roots in liquid nutrient solutions rather than in soil. The plants grow much quicker than they do under normal growing conditions and only use one eighth of the water. Ms. Rohrer is interested in the idea of hydroponics and feels that there are definitely benefits to the practice. She wonders if it will fit into schools with or without agriculture programs.
John Shimko mentioned the Southern California School Nutrition Association’s “I love My Lunch Lady Contest.” Mr. Shimko campaigned with teachers and students to make videos or write essays for the contest. He was surprised to find that the teachers did not know the lunch ladies very well and had superficial connections with them at best. Mr. Shimko set students up with a template, and they made videos and sent them in for the competition. Regardless of the outcome of the contest, Mr. Shimko’s school will honor their lunch ladies with a ceremony. He hopes to facilitate students, teachers, and food service employees feeling more connected to one another. Overall participating in the contest was a very fruitful experience.
Dena Boortz stated that she continues to experience challenges related to competitive snack food regulations, specifically parents and student groups complying with the new regulations. She also discussed reformulating unhealthy foods to meet the requirements, such as sugar-free lollipops with fiber added. Schools need cooperation from the suppliers to encourage healthier foods as competitive snacks on school campuses.Cody Williams went over annual percentages for qualifying students for the free/reduced meal program and found that the number of students had dropped 2 percent, but the reimbursement claims stayed the same. Tara Chambers, from the NSD, helped him start the after school snack program in four out of five schools. Donna Reedy and Heather Reed, also from the NSD, helped him to apply for the summer feeding option at his school.
His district was chosen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a school nutrition cost study to determine the direct and indirect costs of meal programs and menus. The USDA does this periodically to reassess cost. Food waste is also a factor. The results will be available in one or two years.
One of Mr. Williams’ junior high schools harvested kale, mixed greens, baby carrots, and spinach, which are served at the high school.
Mr. Williams was invited to the Culinary Institute of America’s National School Nutrition Conference in San Antonio, Texas. He will participate in a panel discussion about scratch cooking and processed foods. He was asked to develop five tips in five minutes for a discussion. His five tips were:
- Know your demographics and create foods they will like. Take ethnicity into account and the availability of local products.
- Make food a priority—balance commodity products with fresh local products (i.e. foods grown on campus or in the community, counties, and state).
- Empower your employees to be a part of the decision-making process. Allow them to have some control over decisions made in the lunchroom.
- Create strategic partnerships that will support your program and assist with marketing. Choose partners with shared goals, such as local farms, gardens, and food manufacturers. Work with the Department of Education to obtain grants to improve your food service programs.
- Simplify—make things easier and more efficient. Simplify the processes, menus, production, and workloads. Your staff is your greatest asset.
Trish Vance mentioned a site in Bakersfield that makes all its food on site. The head chef shared with Ms. Vance some of the frustrations the small scratch cooking kitchens have in a large system. For example, if a child cannot see a food item, in soup for example, that food item cannot be considered part of the protein intake. Although the students at this school would know since it would be posted, and they do a lot of nutrition education in her cafeteria. Therefore, she needs to add visible protein as well in which case students are getting additional calories/protein that even though they "do not count", they certainly count in the body. Rural schools fitting in with the masses continues to be somewhat challenging. Ms. Vance shared the need for training that incorporates nutrition and social and emotional effects on how we make decisions about food. There is not enough of this holistic approach in nutrition education. A caloric perspective is not enough.
Larry Herrera is a member of a community-based healthy schools steering committee. One of the projects they are working on is contacting restaurants to encourage them to offer more healthy heart menu options. The school-based members of the group also offer nutrition advisory group tasting experiences for both students and parents.
Mr. Herrera also mentioned the effectiveness of Operation Tone Up, a fitness and nutrition program in which fourth and fifth graders perform a 30 minute workout. The program focuses on fitness, calisthenics, and nutrition, including math conversions from Nutrition Fact labels.
Mr. Herrera said that he was impressed how various members of the community are coming together to encourage nutrition education and to help students develop healthy lifestyle choices.
Nori Grossmann discussed the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are updated every five years. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) is responsible for providing updates. This is the first year the group is including sustainability, specifically tied to the consumption of red meat and reducing carbon dioxide and methane. The group recommended to reduce red meat and processed meats. Twenty congressmen wrote a letter opposing that change. Comments will be released on May 8, 2015. The public can go to the National Association of Nutrition and Activity (NANA) Web page to find out more information. The group is also working on a project with food service workers to go into classrooms and collaborate with teachers to bring nutrition education to more students.
In reference to Ms. Rohrer’s statements regarding hydroponics, Ms. Grossmann questioned if crops grown using hydroponics would have the same nutritional value as crops grown in soil.
Ms. Grossmann has witnessed non-nutritious foods with added vitamins. Guidelines suggest looking at whole foods rather than junk food with vitamins added.
Lucy McProud shared that San Jose State University hosted Spartan Day, where 10,000 attendees visited the school. Ms. McProud stated that she appreciates hearing the accomplishments and news from the other CNAC members.
Niki Sandoval provided an update on the State Board of Education. Governor Jerry Brown appointed Ting Sun, the Executive Director and Board President of the Natomas Charter School, and Feliza Ortiz-Licon, senior director of K–16 education at the National Council of La Raza, to the Board.
Clell Hoffman shared that Paula James, the chair of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Roundtable, would like to speak with him. They are concerned that centers are not getting enough support in regard to compliance. Mr. Hoffman assured her that the Nutrition Services Division is supportive and wants to help. He said he will report back to the group when he has more information.
California Thursdays will be held during the week of April 23, 2015. On a related note, food service used lettuce from the garden in the preschool for school meals. The Center for Ecoliteracy is supporting this initiative.
CNAC Recommendations: No recommendations, only discussion/information sharing.
Niki Sandoval was connected to the meeting through conference call.
From the Nutrition Services Division (NSD), Carol Chase Huegli, Associate Director
The NSD is working on integrating the new administrative review (AR) process for the School Nutrition Programs (SNP). Site monitoring now occurs every three years instead of every five years. The new AR will include a more thorough review of the cafeteria fund. Previously states had the option to decide whether or not their breakfast programs would be reviewed. Administratively early on, there was acknowledgement that the California Department of Education (CDE) would need more resources to conduct reviews. The NSD received 15 new positions. It will be a couple years before the benefit will be clearly seen and to determine if more positions are needed.
In the past, the Field Services Unit (FSU) was responsible for all monitoring. Now there are two additional units to assist with the process. The Resource Management Unit only looks at the cafeteria fund, ensuring that expenditures and reimbursements are allowable. The Compliance Coordination Unit helps with administrative functions, such as giving technical assistance when they are out doing reviews.
The change management team oversees the implementation of the new AR process.
Thus far, the ARs have been going well. In 2014–15, the goal is to complete 375 ARs of school districts and/or residential care facilities. The number of school sites to be reviewed is determined by the size of each district.
The first step in the review process is the completion of the off-site assessment tool in Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS). Thus far, 176 agencies have completed it, and 155 are pending NSD review. 17 agencies remain that have yet to be initiated. The NSD has completed on-site reviews of 183 districts. After the on-site portion is completed, the necessary documents can be completed—including what has been observed and what is recommended for the site. Then a summation report is issued. 88 summation reports have been completed thus far.
Ms. Boortz stated that every other year outside auditors review the cafeteria fund, and there is redundancy with auditors.
Mr. Williams anticipates that his school will be reviewed in the coming week. He is thankful the process is there and that the NSD is there to offer support.
Mr. Hoffman believes that the AR process is much easier now.
Mr. Shimko asked if anything noteworthy had been discovered as a strength or weakness in the AR process the past year.
Ms. Chase Huegli stated that under the old system, it was difficult to report, but that cafeteria fund misuse was an issue. The NSD advises districts to employ the on-site assessment tool. She believes discussing the AR process during an upcoming meeting would be beneficial.
Mr. Herrera stated that one of the responsibilities of this council is to be updated on the AR process.
Ms. Boortz mentioned that the off-site tool and staff assistance are incredible.
Ms. Chase Huegli brought up the new professional standards for school nutrition employees released by the USDA in February. They take effect on July 1, 2015. A few of the requirements include the minimum hours of training for directors and staff, required education for the food service director. The education requirements are at the local level. These new requirements will apply to new hires only.
In regard to whole grain-rich requirements, Ms. Chase Huegli stated that there is temporary flexibility for pasta. The 100 percent whole grain-rich requirement applies to all whole grains and not just pasta.
Ms. Chase Huegli shared that the USDA Foods provide school districts with additional financial benefit in terms of acquiring foods to prepare and deliver meals, based on entitlement rate on the number of free/reduced-price lunches. Many districts are not taking advantage. The program includes new products such as whole grain pastas, bulk peanuts, teriyaki chicken strips, turkey, and waffle potatoes.
Mr. Williams, Ms. Boortz, Mr. Shimko, and Mr. Hoffman all use USDA Foods. Mr. Williams uses 50 percent commodity goods and 50 percent brown box. He shared that there is 70 percent commodity discounted pricing through Gold Star Foods. Additionally, there are other co-ops that can help SNPs save money. Mr. Williams uses the money he has saved for fresh fruit and vegetables for the salad bar at his school.
Ms. Chase Huegli shared that the USDA implements pilot projects to introduce new items. A year and a half ago, a Greek yogurt pilot was introduced. 11 agencies participated, and there was a lot of positive feedback, even though Greek yogurt is highly perishable and expires quickly. The USDA is looking at expanding that program. There is also an unprocessed fruit and vegetable pilot introduced this year, in which districts can utilize entitlement to enter into an agreement with farmers to receive local fresh fruit and vegetables. 41 districts have signed on thus far, using their existing entitlement.
Ms. Chase Huegli also brought up the issue of incentives. The CDE found a school district that received incentive items that were not allowable had they used cafeteria fund money. The NSD is working with the USDA to clarify current guidance pertaining to incentives.
From the NSD, Carol Chase Huegli, Associate Director, for Alejandro Espinoza, Legislative Representative
There was a recent USDA event in Los Angeles to promote the serving of breakfast in schools and the idea that there are a variety of venues in which breakfast can be served, including the classroom.
Ms. Chase Huegli shared the follow nutrition related bills:
AB 292 expands the state meal mandate to require that children be given adequate time to eat lunch.
AB 1240, sponsored by the California Food Policy Advocates, is intended to increase breakfast participation. It requires breakfast to be available.
AB 496 is a funding bill that requires the CDE to consult with the State Water Resources Control Board to identify sources of funding to be used for school water quality and infrastructure projects. The bill also allows, but does not require, the CDE to receive funding from outside entities and transfer these funds to schools for such projects.
SB 334 will require the California Department of Public Health to measure lead in water at each source in schools. Among other things, this bill will require the CDE and CDPH to develop guidelines and best practices to minimize lead hazards, to flush all drinking water sources that have lead-containing plumbing components, and increase drinking water access points as needed, especially in recreation areas of the school. Additionally, schools must share results with parents, schools, and students.
Ms. Boortz asked if there are a lot of schools that do not have water for their students. Mr. Danzik shared that in the original survey completed, 40 percent of schools did not.
Ms. Grossmann stated that a lot of schools do have water fountains, but they are often dirty or are do not work properly. As a result, many students will not or cannot use them.
Ms. Boortz asked if a fountain simply has to be functional to meet the requirement. Mr. Danzik replied that current laws only address access to free water—which can be interpreted as functional. The current laws do not address anything in addition to providing access to free water, including cleanliness of the water source, etc.
Mr. Herrera stated that a hydration station does not always need to be a fountain; it could also mean a cooler or water bottles.
Mr. Danzik asked the FSU if they had found compliance issues over the past year and found that some communities do not have potable water.
CNAC Recommendations: No recommendations, only discussion/information sharing.
From the NSD, Lori Porter, Child Nutrition Consultant
Subject: Accommodating children with food allergies in the school nutrition programs
Lori Porter began her PowerPoint presentation by discussing how to accommodate children with food allergies, which falls under the larger umbrella of special dietary needs in the Child Nutrition Programs. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—specifically the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004—requires food manufacturers to list the eight most common foods that trigger food allergies. An estimated 90 percent of allergic reactions result from the following eight foods: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.
Ms. Porter asked if the CNAC members had any experience dealing with other food allergies in their students. Rice and strawberries were mentioned. Ms. Porter shared that more than 160 foods can cause allergic reactions. Between 4 and 6 percent of kids have a food allergy, and 88 percent of schools have at least one student with a food allergy. Special needs require special accommodations.
Ms. Porter shared that there has been an increase in the number of children with disabilities being taught in classrooms in recent years because of legislation such as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Education of the Handicapped Act or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
Ms. Porter stated that this legislation helps to ensure equal opportunities and to prohibit discrimination. The USDA provided guidance on changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), which serves to increase the number of individuals covered by the act.
Ms. Porter informed the CNAC that the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) requires schools to make substitutions for children with disabilities if they cannot eat the foods being served.
A written medical statement indicating that the child actually has an allergy is required and must be signed by a designated medical authority. Only a food allergy that results in severe, life-threatening (anaphylactic) reactions is considered a disability. The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) can work in conjunction with the written medical statement from a licensed physician.
A Medical Statement to Request Special Meals and/or Accommodations form must be available to all parents, and schools. It is ultimately the responsibility of the parent or guardian to have their licensed physician complete and sign the written medical statement. The school can only accept completed medical statements that address all the USDA criteria for determining a dietary accommodation due to a disability. Forms only need to be updated when there are changes—not annually. This process is in place to protect students and school districts.
Kristin Wright stated that schools often do not realize that they have the responsibility to accommodate students’ needs. Ms. Chase Huegli suggested that this be put on the list of topics to work on next year.
Ms. Chase Huegli suggested that the NSD work with the Special Education Division to find out what more can be done—perhaps send out a e-mail to disseminate this information.
Mr. Shimko suggested trainings for special education teachers and stated that the Special Education Information System is a helpful tool.
Mr. Williams stated that from a food service perspective, it is helpful to have information showing the allergies children have in advance so parents can have their children bring a lunch when they know they will not be able to eat the school lunch. Food service must always provide an alternative to the primary lunch item for those students who cannot eat what is provided. Mr. Shimko added that salad and yogurt are always available to students who cannot eat the main dish.
Mr. Herrera mentioned that the USDA just sent out a policy memorandum (memo) raising the question as to who is recognized as a medical authority. The memo was meant to balance authority, amending the term medical authority, so that it could be someone other than just a recognized physician. Ms. Boortz clarified that a school nurse, a nutritionist, or virtually anyone could claim to have that authority. Additionally a child could simply not like a food item and claim a food allergy. Mr. Herrera said he would provide an update on the USDA memo at a future meeting and that this is the first in a series of changes. There is an online version of the guidelines for dietary restrictions.
Reference materials provided by Lori Porter:
- California Department of Education Medical Statement to Request Special Meals and/or Accommodations form (DOC)
- Accommodating Children with Special Dietary Needs Management Bulletin
- Accommodating Children with Special Dietary Needs in the SNPs – Guidance for School Food Service Staff (PDF)
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Allergies: What You Need to Know
- Centers for Disease Control – Food Allergies – Adolescent and School Health
CNAC Recommendations: No recommendations, only discussion/information sharing.
The CNAC adjourned for lunch at 12:05 p.m.
The meeting was reconvened at 1:12 p.m.
From the NSD, Carol Chase Huegli, Associate Director
Subject: Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act
Ms. Chase Huegli shared information on the Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. Reauthorization occurs every five years.
It is unlikely that Congress will make any major changes, but action must be taken in order for programs to operate. The reauthorization affects CACFP and other Child Nutrition Programs, too, not just School Nutrition Programs.
Ms. Chase Huegli will bring the final document to the June meeting.
Currently USDA Foods only offers entitlement for lunch. The reauthorization provides a platform to advocate for an additional 10 cents entitlement for breakfast.
Ms. Chase Huegli discussed the topic of vegetarian meals. In the past, there were no vegetarian alternatives to the main course served in school cafeterias. Would it make sense to make vegetarian options a requirement? Mr. Hoffman mentioned that his school received a complaint from a child that did not receive the vegetarian meal he wanted. The number of children who request a vegetarian meal is inconsistent, which makes it difficult to determine how much food to prepare. Sometimes there is food left over, and sometimes there is not enough of the vegetarian option to serve.
Mr. Shimko stated that they offer salad and yogurt as a vegetarian option at each meal. Mr. Hoffman said that the variety and quantity of vegetarian options offered depend on the community. For example, in the Berkeley area, vegetarianism is very common, and many people would likely complain about limited vegetarian options.
Another complicated issue is that of meals served in juvenile detention centers. Children and young adults need more calories in these locations because they are generally active all day. Additionally, there tends to be more flexibility for these facilities, including offer versus serve, caloric intake, and the timing of food service. Ms. Frinzell brought up the idea of food as a power struggle in these environments.
Ms. Chase Huegli stated that there is a racial identification question on the application form. If the applicant leaves it blank, federal requirement is that agency has to guess if box is not checked.
Mr. Shimko said that schools can check their databases to get the ethnicities of the individual applicants.
Ms. Chase Huegli asserted that expecting a provider to make that judgment is inappropriate.
Mr. Williams stated that it can be beneficial to identify the race of applicants, so that the necessary documents can be sent out in the language they understand best.
In regard to offer versus serve, Ms. Grossmann stated that in some schools, children are offered one cup of fruit, because that is the requirement, but the child is only required to take one half cup.
Mr. Hoffman said that if food is put on a child’s plate, they will often eat it.
Ms. Chase Huegli asked whether eliminating the fruit requirement, as suggested by the School Nutrition Association, would be a possibility—keeping it optional for children. Ms. Boortz agreed that it would be beneficial in terms of reducing food waste.
Ms. Grossmann stated that food waste is an education issue and that making people aware, especially at an early age, is important.
Mr. Hoffman said that he has witnessed students becoming vegetarians after seeing the documentary Food, Inc., which goes to show that teaching children about nutrition is much more effective than making them take fruit. He also mentioned the importance of not running out of the food items offered.
Mr. Hoffman stated that food in the CACFP is not wasted as much as in the National School Lunch Program.
Ms. Vance then asked the question if suppliers would offer less fruit and other items if the children were not selecting them and if less variety might be supplied in the future if children never take what is offered.
Ms. Chase Huegli stated that the Child Nutrition Act expires on September 30, 2015, and a 12 month resolution may take effect to allow action to happen next year.
CNAC Recommendations: No recommendations, only discussion/information sharing.
From the NSD, Kimberly Frinzell, Nutrition Education Administrator, for Kelley Knapp
CACFP proposed meal pattern final CDE comments
Kim Frinzell introduced the discussion on the proposed new USDA CACFP meal pattern. Public comments are due April 15, 2015. The NSD formed an internal work group with representatives from across the NSD to develop the CDE NSD comments. Teams reviewed and researched the proposed regulations and then came together to reach consensus. Part of the research included reaching out to various CACFP partners including the American Academy of Pediatrics. Kelley Knapp led the workgroup and was responsible for developing the final comments on behalf of the NSD. The executive team is currently finalizing the comments for submission to the USDA.
The NSD included three recommendations for the proposed infant meal pattern:
- A gradual introduction to solids—flexibility in meal pattern
- Introduction of dairy foods such as cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese at around nine months of age as complementary foods.
- Clarification with inconsistencies in the infant meal pattern chart pertaining to the recommended amount of breast milk or formula.
The NSD provided the following five suggestions for the proposed child and adult meal pattern:
- Combine fruit and vegetable requirements into one.
- Limit fruit juice to no more than one serving per day.
- Require one whole grain-rich requirement per program per day.
- Place a limit on the sugar in breakfast cereals served.
- Increase calorie count in food items for children ages 13 to 18.
Ms. Chase Huegli stated that CACFP programs are more expensive, so the CACFP should receive additional reimbursement.
Mr. Herrera asked about tofu in terms of the new meal pattern requirements. Ms. Frinzell stated that the proposed rule included tofu as a meat/meat alternative.
CNAC Recommendations: No Recommendations
Method for reporting CNAC business to the State Board of Education and State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Niki Sandoval suggested that making comments in writing is a great way to engage between meetings. She said there is time during each meeting for board members to give updates on their liaison activities. Ms. Sandoval stated that if the CNAC members wanted to share an idea with the State Board of Education, she could do so on their behalf. She recommended putting a topic on the agenda as the best way to highlight a particular issue.
Mr. Herrera stated that the CNAC has drafted letters about issues they felt strongly about in the past.
Ms. Sandoval advised the CNAC to focus on one issue or concern, submit their perspective in writing, and communicate with the CDE NSD. Kristin Wright could provide guidance on how items move forward. Ms. Sandoval stressed the importance of working with both herself and Ms. Wright.
Ms. Grossmann mentioned that a subcommittee went through math Common Core and was effective in changing word problems that used unhealthy foods to use healthy foods.
CNAC Recommendations: No Recommendations
Possible agenda items for the June 8, 2015 meeting
- Updates regarding reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act
- Lori Porter will return with a recommendation on a definition of a medical authority.
- Dr. Helen Chang could possibly share her findings related to food allergies.
- Framework team to present on framework development and timeline
- Minimum hours of training and education for food service employees—how those hours are logged and creative ways those can be shared.
- NSD trainings
- CACFP Roundtable concerns
- AR updates
- USDA foods—general info
- AB 1240—Alejandro’s update
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans—Ms. Grossmann will provide the letter from the NANA in an e-mail.
Meeting adjourned at 2:47 p.m.