Tag Archives: school food

The government was attacked for ignoring expert advice on nutrition in food packages World News | Instant News

The government has been accused of ignoring “staggering” for the basic nutrition of the most vulnerable members of society during the pandemic by a group of leading food policy academics.

A letter written by Tim Lang, professor of food policy at the City University of London, was sent at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis to George Eustice, state secretary for environmental, food and rural affairs, and Duncan Selbie, chief executive officer of British Public Health.

It calls for the creation of an expert committee on food and nutrition to oversee the contents of food packages sent to the 1.5 million people needed to protect during the pandemic and to 1.3 million children who are eligible for free school meals. The letter was signed jointly by Erik Millstone, emeritus science policy professor at the University of Sussex, and Terry Marsden from Cardiff University. They proposed a committee that would reflect the work of Sage, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, who had informed government policies during the crisis.

In its response Defra said that PHE “is responsible for public health and the effect of nutrition on our immune system”. In turn, PHE responded that the problem raised was “for the minister”. As a result, none of the governments that believe in themselves are responsible for overseeing nutrition.

Lang described the response as “surprising”. “This shows the disturbing failure to put nutrition right at the heart of the policy. “It’s stupid and shows a poor understanding of how inequality is emphasized in a crisis,” he said.

Many of those who receive free food packages, provided by food service companies, Brakes and Bidfood, note that although they contain fresh fruits and vegetables, they are rich in simple carbohydrates and low in protein. When schools are closed and children who qualify for free school meals are given a food service company package, concerns also arise about their contents.

Marcus Rashford talks about experiences with children’s poverty in the effort to get free school meals – video

Peter Overton, an elementary school principal in Bristol, posted a picture of one to Twitter, describing it as “embarrassing”. Most were chips, chocolate biscuits, a cheap slice of bread, and a block of fat marked only for cooking.

Earlier this month the Northumbria University Healthy Living Lab reported a massive decrease in fruit and vegetable intake among students who qualify for free school meals. More than half of the children studied said they did not eat fruit or vegetables in a period of three days after being locked.

Funding for free school meals is now through a £ 15 weekly voucher per child, which can be spent at designated retailers. Last week a campaign by Manchester United and English soccer player Marcus Rashford forced the government to extend policies during the summer holidays. While this turnaround is welcomed by child poverty activists, there is increasing concern about the nutritional value of food eaten by the poorest families.

“There is a real danger that without some kind of supervision we lose focus on basic nutrition,” said Naomi Duncan, chief executive at Chefs School, a charity working to improve school food, which supported 850 families during the crisis. “The voucher scheme is a financial solution, not a nutritional solution. “There is a 30-year struggle to get better nutrition at the heart of school food supply and there is a risk of being lost,” he said.

In his response to Lang, Defra argues that “leading supermarkets work to ensure people have the food and products they need”. Lang described this as a key problem. “That is the Tesco approach,” he said. “This shows the weakness of British Public Health.”

In a statement, PHE said that any decision about forming an advisory committee on nutrition “would belong to the ministers”. Defra declined to comment.

Read From panic buying to a food bank: how Britain feeds itself in the first phase of cornoavirus at OFM today.


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Only 2 Countries Approved To Date | Instant News

About a month ago, the First Family Coronavirus Response Act created an electronic pandemic benefit transfer program (P-EBT) to give low-income families access to nutritious food while schools were closed. The law took effect on March 18 and required states to submit, and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to approve, planning to operate a new P-EBT program. The USDA guidelines for countries were followed on March 20, determining the process for submitting plans and obtaining agency approval. Now, weeks later, only nine countries has submitted a plan and only two, Rhode Island and Michigan, have been approved to date. Given that American households report an increase in leave, layoffs, and unemployment applications, P-EBT can provide an important lifeline for families when school food is not available.

What is P-EBT?

The P-EBT program allows states to temporarily issue EBT cards for low-income families with children attending schools that offer free school meals, if the school has been closed for five or more consecutive days. The P-EBT card value will be at least of free school meals for each child for five school days, of around $ 114 per month per child.

Who is Eligible?

A state must first submit a P-EBT plan which includes information such as how the country will provide EBT benefits to families, dates of implementation, and the amount of benefits. Before households in the state can receive P-EBT benefits, the USDA must approve the state plan.

Unfortunately, the state offices that manage the state food coupon program (officially called the Additional Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) “struggle to respond to the increasing number of families and individuals who become eligible for SNAP benefits,” which could lead to this office become overwhelmed if they don’t carefully plan the implementation of P-EBT, according to to the Food Research & Action Center.

The P-EBT program is very interesting because it applies to households that participate in SNAP and those who do not currently participate in SNAP. Per USDA recently guidance, the household must have at least one child who attends a school that is closed for at least five consecutive days, and that child must be eligible to receive free or lower-priced school meals. As part of the country planning process, they must discuss how they will verify revenue information to determine eligibility.

Which country has the P-EBT program?

On April 14, 2020, only nine states have submitted P-EBT plans: Arizona, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, and Rhode Island. Of these, only Michigan and Rhode Island have received agency approval. In these two states alone, more than 750,000 school children are eligible for free or discounted food. Families will now be able to offset the cost of the food these children are supposed to consume at school.

What’s next?

The USDA has not followed up on the remaining seven state P-EBT plans, but is expected to do so in the coming days. Even so, 41 countries still have not submitted plans, which means that families in many countries do not have access to the benefits of P-EBT for which they are eligible.

Many advocates want to see the expansion of the P-EBT program. According to Abby Leibman, President and CEO of MAZON, an anti-hunger organization, Congress “must do more: they must extend this benefit period to ensure they are available during the summer months; they must expand the feasibility of P-EBT for all Americans who need it; and the Administration must promote the program to each Governor, making it easy and attractive for the country to apply. “

P-EBT is not the only food aid provision in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The law also allows emergency allotment of additional SNAP benefits, and USDA guidelines have limited it allotment to the maximum level per household size. In a recent report, the Center for Budget and Policy Priority (CBPP) is stated that the interpretation of the USDA will provide a little help to “every household that has received the maximum benefits, which makes up nearly 40 percent of SNAP households and those with the lowest income.” The CBPP report added, “the reason households receive maximum benefits is because they have no income is available for buying food under the SNAP benefit calculation rules. “

The First Family Coronavirus Response Act was among the first of several federal responses to economic disruption caused by COVID-19. Congress then passed the Coronavirus, Assistance, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a stimulus bill estimated at more than $ 2.1 billion, which did not expand benefits or eligibility criteria for SNAP. When Congress debates the next phase of economic recovery, a lot to debate that the next bill should go further to expand the national food aid program.


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