School lunch program

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) was established in 1946 to provide low-cost or free school lunches to qualified students of public or nonprofit private schools. This program was also established as a way to prop up food prices by absorbing farm surpluses. The NSLP is a federal subsidy paid to states that provide lunches to nearly 30 million children each day at an annual cost of about $9 billion. In 2018, nearly 5 billion lunches were served by 95,000 school kitchens. Child advocates claim this may be the best meal millions of American children are going to get that day. Schools are now serving more fruits, vegetables, whole grains with less salt and saturated fat, and without trans-fat - along with healthier snacks and beverages.

However, many school cafeterias are still using outdated and inefficient equipment which keep them from meeting food nutrition standards. Advocates say since school meals are a critical source of nutrition for children from low-income and food-insecure households, it is crucial to modernize kitchen infrastructure and improve workforce training to improve the quality and efficiency of our school lunch program. They claim that investing resources in nutrient-rich meals pays off in the form of improved health and educational outcomes for students.

Proposed Legislation: Reintroduction of S.876 - School Food Modernization Act of 2021
Prospective Sponsor: Sen. Susan Collins (ME)

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