Jessica Donze Black, Pew's expert on childhood nutrition, issued the following statement on the School Food Modernization Act, H.R. 1783.
“We commend Representatives Tom Latham (R-IA) and Mike McIntyre (D-NC) for reintroducing the School Food Modernization Act, a bipartisan bill to help replace outdated equipment and provide training to food service staff on the preparation of safe, healthful meals.
“Many school kitchens were built decades ago to simply reheat and hold foods. As a result, many food service workers don't have the training or tools required to bake, grill, and roast healthier foods. The need to upgrade school kitchen infrastructure and improve staff training is now more critical than ever.
“Schools' needs vary tremendously. Some need funding for lower-cost items, while others might require a total kitchen overhaul. With more than 31 million children eating at least one meal provided by their school each day, this bill is the right step to ensure schools provide safer, healthier, and more appealing meals for millions of schoolchildren.”
The School Food Modernization Act would establish a loan and grant 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 for training of and technical assistance to school food service personnel throughout the country.
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