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CNAC Meeting Minutes for June 8, 2015

Child Nutrition Advisory Council

An Advisory Body to the State Board Of Education

Meeting Minutes

June 8, 2015

Members Present

Nori Grossmann, Clell Hoffman, Carol Chase Huegli, Lawrence Herrera, John Shimko,
Cody Williams, Caroline Danielson, Helen Chang, Lucy McProud, Trish Vance, and Barbara Rohrer

State Board of Education Member Liaison

Niki Sandoval

Representative for the State Board of Education

Kristin Wright

Members Absent

Dena Boortz and Trish Vance

Also Present—California Department of Education

Michael Danzik, Kimberly Frinzell, Alejandro Espinoza, Kristen Cruz Allen,
Lori Porter, Heather Reed, Tom Adams, Deborah Franklin, and Mandeep Punia

Call to Order

Lawrence (Larry) Herrera, Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:10 a.m.

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Niki Sandoval was connected to the meeting through conference call.

Approval of Agenda

Lucy McProud moved to approve the agenda for June 8, 2015. Barbara Rohrer seconded the motion. The Child Nutrition Advisory Council (CNAC) voted to approve the June 8, 2015 meeting agenda.

Approval of Minutes for the April 13, 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 April 13, 2015 meeting minutes.

There was no public comment.

Agenda Items

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.

Item 1
Subject: Member project and priority sharing

Nori Grossmann shared that there is an annual California conference of local health department nutritionists (CCLHDN). The purpose of the conference is to share new information and to help local health department nutritionists collaborate, network, and learn new things. The nutritionists work in conjunction with local health officers and doctors in local health departments.

Kim Frinzell presented at the CCLHDN with the California Department of Public Health, including those who administer Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) funds and the WIC program. One of the topics they discussed was federal funding.

Lucy McProud shared that 8,000 students graduated from San Jose State University on May 23, including 81 students who earned a Bachelor of Science, 17 students who earned a Master of Science, and 98 students who earned degrees from the Nutrition, Food Science, and Packaging department. For those who earn a degree in Dietetics, there is an accredited internship program, which is required in order to become a Registered Dietitian. The program lasts for seven months, and 12–14 applicants are accepted into the program every six months—25 per year. For external applicants, it is very competitive with only a 50 percent acceptance rate.

John Shimko shared that he has completed the second round of presentations to all K–2 classes. This round moved much faster than the first round because the students already had a basic knowledge of food groups and food choices.

Mr. Shimko also provided an update on the “I Love My Lunch Lady” competition. His school did not win, but they did recognize their five lunch ladies, which was their primary goal in participating in the competition. The school stopped everything one day during lunch to acknowledge these women, show them the video made by the students and faculty, and present each of them with a gift certificate. The superintendent and assistant superintendent were both in attendance. The lunch ladies were so appreciative, and it was nice to see that connection made.

Dr. Helen Chang met with the food service director, Andrew Solis, and the principal of her local school to assess and improve the school lunch program. She wanted to express parents’ concerns to the food service director and possibly have him present to the Parent–Teacher Association (PTA) at the beginning of each school year. The principal asked Dr. Chang to put together a handout for parents with healthy lunch options.

Dr. Chang wants to raise the quality of school meals, but she acknowledges that the school lunches are often healthier than what children bring from home. Many children bring chips and cookies for lunch. If we educate parents, we can start there and encourage them to buy more school lunches.

Clell Hoffman stated that the more people participate in the school meal programs, the more funding the programs will receive. As a result, further improvements in offering healthy options could be achieved. The process is cyclical—parents do not want to buy school lunches because they do not believe they are healthy enough, but that cannot change without the necessary funding.

Promoting brown bag lunches may undercut the school lunch program, which is not the intention of parents.

Cody Williams suggested that Dr. Chang look over current menus and select items she would recommend as a pediatrician.

Carol Chase Huegli stated that it is important for parents to look at the recipes for items served in the school lunch program before making judgments.

Clell Hoffman added that even a food item such as pizza can be a relatively healthy option, with alternative ingredients such as a whole wheat crust.

Dr. Chang initially intended to send out a survey but has not yet been able to do so. She and the CNAC members agreed that the most productive approach would be to ask very specific questions, such as “if we changed xhow many more times would your child buy a school lunch?”

Mr. Williams asked if there was a School Nutrition and Activities Council, consisting of students and parents, at Dr. Chang’s school to help facilitate conversations and create stronger programs to promote activity and nutrition. Mr. Williams is chair of the council in Sonoma. Parents show up and give feedback. Outreach gets districts up to speed with what’s really happening.

Caroline Danielson stated that field trips for parents to see what actually goes into the school lunches are beneficial. Even in a sizable district like West Contra Costa, very few parents know what the lunches actually look like.

Dr. Chang admitted that she has never tried the school lunch.

Ms. Chase Huegli suggested that it would be good for public relations if she tried a school lunch before initiating the survey.

Larry Herrera mentioned that the superintendent at his previous district always made a point to eat cafeteria lunch and encouraged school principals to do the same. His frequent visits to the school cafeteria, coupled with the fact that he knew all the lunch ladies, may have been a contributing factor in the high quality of the lunches in that district.

Cody Williams shared that on Wednesday, June 10, they will begin to administer the Seamless Summer Feeding Option at a new site at an elementary school in his district. There is high enrollment of free and reduced-price lunches in that district, so they are expecting to serve a great deal of meals—approximately 500–550 meals out of small space. There will be three kitchen managers and one extra staff present with Mr. Williams. On day one, they plan to serve individually packaged burritos, fresh coleslaw, and strawberries. Mr. Williams wants to make sure fresh produce—such as watermelon, peaches, and strawberries—is included because there will not be a salad bar, and the fresh produce will drive up rapport with the program so it can get more funding. If necessary, they may open another site. At this point, they cannot be sure how many people will show. The first day will be important in determining the success of the program. Students are invited to eat for free on the first day.

Nori Grossmann suggested promoting the event with teachers so they can encourage their students to attend.

Mike Danzik shared that he is putting together a competitive foods workgroup. Mr. Hoffman will represent the CNAC. The meeting is scheduled for July 9, and the group will consist of approximately 20 individuals, including food service representatives, students, parents, and community nutrition leaders. The group will discuss state requirements and how they correspond to federal requirements. They will also share changes they would like to see in California laws and regulations so the CDE can look into implementing them in the future. Mr. Danzik will designate someone to share at the August CNAC meeting.

Ms. Chase Huegli stated that it is always great to hear about menus being developed. She learned recently that when teams from the Nutrition Services Division (NSD) are out performing administrative reviews (AR), they do not eat the school lunches. She asked if the food service directors would find it odd if AR teams had lunch in the cafeteria.

Mr. Hoffman said no because they are accustomed to selling meals to staff members. Some employees might feel more stressed, but the process has become so relaxed, he does not foresee a problem.

Mr. Williams would encourage the AR teams to eat the school lunch and would appreciate honest feedback. Adults generally have different preferences than the major demographic in school lunchrooms, which is children. He feels that it is easy to garner support and understanding for the programs when you see them in action. He would like to have everyone on board and supports dialogue in the community.

Mr. Shimko stated that they use Title One fund money for school lunches, and they host an annual picnic day for parents. Roughly one-fourth of parents show up. The event promotes a positive opinion of the school lunches. They choose a menu item to serve, and combine homemade items with packaged products. The feedback has been positive for this event.

Ms. Rohrer suggested a grandparents’ day, where grandparents of students could come to the cafeteria and have lunch with their grandchildren and experience the school lunch program firsthand.

Mr. Hoffman shared that the implementation of the California Thursdays initiative was an incredible success. He has participated in two California Thursday events since the last CNAC meeting. The children noticed the difference between the fresh broccoli that was served versus the frozen broccoli that is normally provided. They will consider organizing more of these events if participation continues to increase.

CNAC Recommendations:No recommendations, only discussion/information sharing.


Niki Sandoval was connected to the meeting through conference call.

Item 2

From the Nutrition Services Division (NSD), Carol Chase Huegli, Associate Director

General Updates

Ms. Chase Huegli shared the status of the School Nutrition AR implementation. For school year (SY) 14–15, the AR teams are finishing up their reviews. In SY 14–15, 338 reviews were scheduled; 205 formal exits were conducted, consisting of a phone call between the review team, superintendent, chief business officer, and food service director; 202 reports were issued, and corrective action documents received from 125 agencies.

Ms. Chase Huegli stated that the NSD is currently awaiting approval from the USDA to extend the first review from three years to four years.

Ms. Chase Huegli shared that the public can ask how a school did in the previous AR. Those records are public information. Eventually ARs may become web-based in order to increase transparency and accessibility. Ms. Chase Huegli offered to provide a copy of the proposed rule for the SNP AR and share the final comments—due July 10—at the next meeting. The proposed rule has a focus on program integrity and ensuring that federal dollars are dispersed properly.

The last NSD update shared was that the USDA awarded California another $3 million for equipment grants; SFAs will be able to apply for those funds in the fall.

Mr. Herrera asked if every food service director receives the information about available grants.

Ms. Chase Huegli replied that the CDE notifies food services directors about available grants.

Ms. Chase Huegli shared that the USDA consistently prioritizes criteria for districts with a high volume of free and reduced lunches. Sandip Kaur, Director of the Nutrition Services Division at the Department of Education, has asked for flexibility in this matter.

Mr. Williams shared that $20,000 is allotted per school site and $100,000 per district. Fifty percent of students at a school site must receive free or reduced-price meals in order for that site to qualify for a grant, and the funds must be used to purchase items over $5,000, such as ovens or refrigeration systems.

Ms. Chase Huegli stated that there are not enough available funds from the USDA for every district that is above 50 percent free and reduced to receive a grant.

Mr. Hoffman stated that districts with high numbers of students who qualify for free and reduced meals have the most funding. He feels that the allocation of funds should instead be based on financial need more than the quantity of free/reduced meals served.

Ms. Rohrer asked who should be contacted to be informed of the grant.

Ms. Chase Huegli replied that the food service director should be contacted.

Reauthorization Updates

First priority: Ms. Chase Huegli stated that as a department, we will be communicating with congressional members about reauthorization in order to increase USDA Foods entitlement, specifically by adding an additional 10-cent entitlement for breakfast. This would give schools additional USDA entitlement to start serving breakfast, and schools that already serve breakfast would get additional funds.

Second Priority: Clarifying the definition of a food service management company contract versus a vending contract to help districts better understand when preapproval by the state is needed.

Ms. McProud mentioned the importance of having an even playing field. Contract companies get special deals. Some districts are very knowledgeable about procurement. Some food services directors work independently and do not have much knowledge about procurement. It would be wise to teach them about procurement.

Third priority: community eligibility. The USDA just issued communication allowing districts to come in on education mid-year with an August 31 deadline. This change is especially important for the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and will hopefully decrease the administrative burden in a lot of districts.

Caroline Danielson asked if community eligibility is based on direct certification (DC) and if directly certified families need to do an alternate application for LCFF.

Ms. Chase Huegli replied that they do. Our numbers for DC are poor in California. The community eligibility provision identified the student percentage 4 years of provision.

The race and ethnicity of applicants is still collected if parents choose to mark it, but if they do not, parents will not have to guess the ethnicity.

Ms. Chase Huegli shared that the USDA selected California to participate in a DC with Medicaid (MC) pilot. When San Diego Unified School District ran a match of their student data against MC data, they identified 15–20 percent more students eligible for free lunch. This is a pilot program right now, and if fully implemented, the federal meal reimbursement budget will considerably increase.

CNAC Recommendations:No recommendations, only discussion/information sharing.

Item 3

From the NSD, Lori Porter, Child Nutrition Consultant

Subject: Updates on food allergies

Lori Porter provided an update on licensed health care professionals who have the authority to determine whether or not a food allergy can be considered a disability.

Only those authorized to write prescriptions would be considered. The USDA’s rationale is to improve access to meal accommodations and to balance the administrative burden.

The CDE formed an internal work group that researched health care professionals and recognized stakeholders.

Ms. Porter shared that the policy affects all child nutrition programs. Workgroups will propose recommendations to management, and once the results are approved an MB will be sent out.

Ms. Chase Huegli stated that the NSD will bring the recommendation to the August CNAC meeting.

Dr. Chang prepared a PowerPoint presentation on food allergies in children and how they are dealt with in schools.

Dr. Chang shared that children do not know how to describe an allergic reaction when they experience one. Small children might get irritable. If a child is experiencing these symptoms, be alert!

School meals are not usually labelled with allergen information. At Dr. Chang’s school, no nuts are used. Some schools still serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as an alternative to the main meal item offered, but this is risky due to the prevalence of peanut allergies.

Dr. Chang stated that bullying is more prevalent when children have food allergies. Bullies perceive that children with food allergies are afraid of the food they’re allergic to.

Kids with allergies get bullied twice as much. As such, it is important to probe kids about what they experience at school. They need the chance to talk to someone. Many cases of bullying go unreported.

Dr. Chang also stressed the importance of educating staff, students, and parents on food allergies and teaching students how to use their own EpiPen in case of emergency. She sees many children who come into her clinic without having applied their EpiPens. This is a simple precaution children can take to reduce the risk of serious negative side effects from allergic reactions.

Dr. Chang stated that there are sanitizer dispensers all over the school, but if you contact a food allergen, you must wash your hands. Hand sanitizer alone will not remove the allergen from your skin.

Dr. Chang thinks it would be wise to distribute EpiPens throughout schools for emergencies.

Mr. Shimko stated that there was a huge backlash with the California Teachers Association (CTA) that teachers should not use EpiPens on students. It is an extremely contentious issue. As it stands, a nurse or designated person must administer the EpiPen.

Currently the Medical Statement to Request Special Meals and/or Accommodations must be signed by a licensed physician if it indicates that a child does have a disability based on the severity of their allergies. Dr. Chang believes that nurses and medical practitioners should be able to sign these forms.

Mr. Shimko stated that he does not think dietitians should be allowed to sign off on these forms, and Dr. Chang agrees because they’re not medical practitioners.

Mr. Hoffman asked if the district is not required to accommodate special dietary needs for a child if the Medical Statement to Request Special Meals and/or Accommodations form indicates that the child does not have a disability.

Dr. Chang replied that it is up to the discretion of district to decide whether or not the child’s condition warrants an alternate meal.

Mr. Shimko said that students in his school who have food allergies filled out the form at registration. The children can get special meals if necessary.

Ms. Porter stated that communication between school, parents, and physicians is essential. Parents often do not realize that this process is in place. Schools are responsible for supplying the Medical Statement to Request Special Meals and/or Accommodations form, and parents are responsible for filling it out correctly.

Mr. Hoffman stated that sometimes a child has autism, and a parent wants to see if certain meals will help. Does this qualify as a special dietary need? Dr. Chang replied that is more of an example of sensitivity than an allergy.

Similarly, gluten and milk sensitivity do not fall under the law of the American Disabilities Act (ADA), so schools can decide for themselves on a policy if alternate meals are causing a lot of problems.

Ms. Porter asserted that schools must comply if a child has an allergy per USDA guidelines. If a child has a non-threatening allergy, the ADA classifies it as a non-disability. If a licensed physician determines a child’s allergy is a non-disability, the school is flexible as to whether or not they will make that accommodation. If anything changes, and a child no longer needs special accommodation for an allergy, but their medical statement form on file indicates that the child does have a disability, a licensed physician—not necessarily the same one who signed the form initially—must provide a signed letter saying that the child in question does not need that restriction anymore. The letter should be stapled to the medical statement form and filed. Schools can be held liable without that signed letter from a physician.

Ms. Chase Huegli shared that she read an article from Allergen, a patient magazine. The article shared how a parent worked with the local school wellness policy council to have an objective related to food allergies. The parent suggested preventative measures, such as banning birthday celebrations. Ms. Chase Huegli believes that this is a perfect topic for school wellness councils, as is the topic of bullying.

CNAC Recommendations:No recommendations, only discussion/information sharing.

The CNAC adjourned for lunch at 12:00 p.m.

The meeting was reconvened at 1:00 p.m.

Item 4

From the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division, Tom Adams, Division Director, and from the Curriculum Frameworks Unit, Kristen Cruz Allen, Education Administrator I

Subject: California Department of Education Frameworks timeline and process for input

Tom Adams and Kristen Cruz Allen presented on the development of standards and curriculum frameworks. They provided a PowerPoint Presentation and took questions from the council members. Mr. Adams agreed to provide regular updates to the CNAC.

CNAC Recommendations:No recommendations, only discussion/information sharing.

Item 5

From the NSD, Mandeep Punia, Nutrition Education Consultant

Subject: Professional Standards

Mandeep Punia provided a briefing on the new professional standards for school nutrition program personnel that became effective on July 1, 2015. She also solicited input on the policy areas where states are allowed discretion.

She gave the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Professional Standards for All School Nutrition Program Employees flyer External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) as a handout.

It provides highlights of the minimum hiring standards and annual training standards that the school food authorities (SFAs) and the State Agency personnel must comply with.

The USDA established these standards in response to Section 306 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA). The standards ensure that nationwide school nutrition personnel will have the knowledge, training, and tools they need to plan, prepare, and serve safe, nutritious, and enjoyable school meals while meeting the program requirements.

The committee briefly discussed each discretionary policy item and voted to indicate whether they agreed with it or not. The questions and the poll results were as follows:

  • Do you agree with approving an LEA with less than 500 students to hire a director that has a high school diploma, but less than 3 years of experience?

    Yes = 6/9
    No = 3/9
  • Do you agree with requiring new acting SFA directors expected to serve for 30 days or more to meet the hiring standards?

    Yes = 5/9
    No = 4/9
  • Do you agree with requiring allSFA directors, regardless of starting date, to complete 8 hours of food safety training every 5 years?

    Yes = 9/9
    No = 0/9
  • Do you agree with requiring acting personnel, temporary workers, or substitutes, and volunteers to complete training in one or more of the topics specified, as they apply to their job, within 30 calendar days of their start date?

    Yes = 3/9
    No = 6/9
  • Do you agree with allowing SFA training standards to be completed over a period of two school years?

    Yes = 9/9
    No = 0/9

Ms. Punia also shared that the CDE is supporting the SFAs in implementing the professional standards. A Webinar was presented on May 28, 2015, to explain the requirements and share resources with the SFAs. A management bulletin explaining the policies will be sent to the SFAs. In addition, a new professional standards Web page will be posted on the CDE Web site.

CNAC Recommendations:No Recommendations

From the CDE Government Affairs Office, Alejandro Espinoza, Legislative Representative

Legislative Updates

Alejandro Espinoza shared that there are a number of nutrition-related bills at varying levels of completion. All bills must get to the other house by Friday’s deadline (June 12). The committees will begin hearing bills again on Wednesday, June 17, through the first week of July. During the months of July and August, representatives will be at their districts.

Progress is being made with the budget. In regard to education, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, is glad projections are higher than anticipated. The Proposition 98 split was a precarious situation, and there is concern that education is getting the bulk of the general fund money and taking away from funding for other causes. Education has undergone a lot of cuts in last 10 years.

There have also been conversations about what will happen after Proposition 30 expires. The conversation is starting now that LCFF is in its second year, and there are lots of kinks.

Mr. Espinoza explained that the one-page handout includes bills that are currently being sponsored. All are moving. The three-page handout refers to bills related to nutrition.

AB 1240 is now dead because its deadline was not met.

Ms. Danielson pointed out that this is the first year of a two-year session, so these bills can come back next year.
Mr. Espinoza stated that they will know sometime in November or December which bills will be coming back around.

Ms. Danielson said that last fall there was some interest in reviving a bill to identify schools that had not been directly certified. She asked if further action had been taken with that bill.

Mr. Espinoza replied that the legislature has an interest in direct certification, specifically how to make that process better and more efficient. How can we streamline CalWORKs and CalFresh? Can a process be developed to merge and identify these students and eventually to automate the system? Due to data quality and sharing, it would be very difficult to do that. These issues are still works in progress. The legislature is happy with the progress made through AB 402.

Mr. Espinoza informed the CNAC that the bills pertaining to fresh drinking water are both still alive. Unless the bill’s status is listed as “failed,” the bill is still alive.

Item 6
Possible agenda items for the August 10, 2015 meeting
  1. USDA Foods and DOD Fresh
  2. Team California for Healthy Kids
  3. Procurement
  4. Reauthorization update
  5. AR proposed rule comments

Meeting adjourned at 3:02 p.m.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, June 6, 2017
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