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Rep. Chu Expands Children's Access to Healthy Nutrition

June 11, 2010
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Judy Chu, D-CA32, played a major role in crafting legislation introduced today that will significantly improve the nutrition of millions of children across America.   The Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act of 2010 improves the access and quality of school meal programs for the more than 30 million students who receive assistance through the National School Lunch Program.  It also establishes nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools and implements new guidelines for food safety.  As a member of the Education and Labor Committee, Congresswoman Chu has worked closely with Chairman George Miller (D-CA) to draft this legislation.

“No student in America’s schools should ever have to go hungry,” Chu said.  “Poor nutrition is one of the biggest barriers to both physical health and academic success.  This bill confronts this challenge head-on and improves the quality of the meals our children receive both in and out of school."

Over 68 percent of the schoolchildren in Chu’s Los Angeles-based district qualify for free school meals and countless more are eligible for food at reduced costs.  The bill makes it easier for many of these students to receive meals by eliminating paper applications and using census data to determine eligibility for the program in high poverty areas.  Additionally, the legislation incorporates Chu’s National School Lunch Protection Act of 2010, which ensures that the funds authorized to feed those children are spent on meals, not overhead or service costs.

“In our time of economic distress, more and more families rely on these programs to ensure their children receive at least one healthy meal every school day.  It’s vital to make sure that every available dollar is spent providing nutritious meals to the children in our communities.”

Dennis Barrett, Director of Food Services for the Los Angeles Unified School District, welcomed the legislation saying, “This legislation will dramatically improve access to free and reduced meals for needy children.  Not only will this bill enable us to feed more students every day, it’s increased reimbursement rate makes it easier for us to provide healthier meals for every student in the district.  Our schoolchildren are fortunate to have Representative Chu fighting for us in Congress.”

Rep. Chu is an original co-sponsor of this legislation reauthorizing The Child Nutrition Act, which was first signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965.  It has the support of anti-hunger, nutrition and education organizations across the country.