03/07/2022 - The Academy calls on Academy members to take action today to tell Congress to extend the USDA waiver authority for the 2022-2023 school year. These child nutrition waivers are a crucial food security initiative and the child nutrition programs are our great asset to establishing healthy eating habits for children. Given the current market vulnerability due to the COVID-19 pandemic related supply chain disruptions and labor shortages, these waivers are more important than ever. Unless Congress votes to extend these provisions, the current waivers will expire June 30, 2022, meaning schools will have significantly fewer options to keep students fed now, as well as putting the school meal programs at long-term risk.
The newly released report "Results of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service-Administered School Food Authority Survey on Supply Chain Disruptions," confirms the need for extension of the USDA waivers that are currently supporting school meal operations. This report focuses on school districts' experiences purchasing and preparing school meals this year and shares input from a survey sent to School Food Authorities November-December 2021, including that about 92% of School Food Authorities have experienced challenges due to supply chain disruptions.