Washington, D.C. -
09/28/2012 - Jessica Donze Black, project director for the Pew Health Group’s School Foods Project, issued the following statement on the School Food Modernization Act, HR 6481.
“More than 31 million children eat at least one meal provided by their school’s breakfast or lunch program each day, and to ensure that the food they serve is safe and nutritious, those schools need additional resources. To help address this challenge, Representatives Tom Latham (R-IA) and Mike McIntyre (D-NC) have introduced the School Food Modernization Act, a bipartisan bill to help replace outdated equipment and provide training to cafeteria staff on the proper preparation of safe, healthful meals.
“Many school kitchens were built decades ago to simply re-heat and hold foods. As a result, many cafeteria workers don’t have the training or tools required to bake, grill and roast healthier meals. In fact, a recent survey of school food service providers found that nearly half still rely on deep-fat fryers, and that the biggest challenge in preparing healthy meals is recruiting workers who have the necessary cooking skills.
“This legislation would establish a loan assistance program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help schools upgrade their kitchens and dining areas and acquire new equipment. It would also authorize funding to provide training and technical assistance to school food service personnel throughout the country. That will mean safer, healthier meals for millions of schoolchildren.”