To the Editor…

by on July 24, 2015

Subject: Will SNA Chart a New Course?

Ms. Dana Woldow has just done a masterful job of clarifying the incredibly complex issues surrounding school food and the people (School Nutrition Directors) who are ultimately responsible for translating the Federal Regulations of the Child Nutrition Authorization Bill, which regulates School Meals, into food that is nourishing and kids will also eat.

As stated, Ms. Ronnei is clearly a talented and perceptive former Student Nutrition Director who has done some very innovative things in St. Paul MN to make sure that the food served is nutritious and also appealing to children.  On the other hand, the desire to re-do aspects of the prior legislation (Hunger Free Kids Act) which might dilute nutrition standards and feed into the conservative GOP narrative of “nanny state” is of concern.

To have the SNA become a spokesperson for big food and junk food, instead of advocates for what their name would suggests, Student NUTRITION Association would seem a sad commentary on the power of these commercial concerns and the divided loyalties of the leadership of this organization.  It is my hope that Ms. Ronnei, with her extensive on-the-ground experience and the creativity she has demonstrated in the past is able to navigate these challenging shoals and stand up on the side of the children who rely on school food to meet their nutritional needs.  These programs exist to improve the health and wellbeing of children, not to serve the kind of food that has driven our poor health and increased obesity trends.

I am hoping that the perspective Jessica Donze Black, a child nutrition expert with The Pew Charitable Trusts and a longtime observer of the school food landscape, shared in Ms. Woldow’s article prevails:

“It’s time for us to focus all of the amazing energy and drive that child nutrition professionals exhibit toward moving forward and finding solutions that will be best for kids while doable for schools. The goal should not be to make fruits and vegetables optional, but to figure out how to get more kids to eat them. Not to serve less whole grains and more sodium, but to fix the distribution channel issues that sometimes make better products less accessible.  And not to strive for waivers, but to advocate for the additional resources needed to invest in our kids and make a great program even better.”




Laura Brainin-Rodriguez MPH, MS, RD

Coordinator Feeling Good Project

Filed under: Letters to the Editor