WASHINGTON, D.C., July 24, 2020 — The American Heart Association, the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke, issued the following statement in support of the FY 2021 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which is scheduled for a vote in the House as soon as today:
“We are pleased with key provisions in this bill, including those that maintain progress on improving school meals now and following the COVID-19 pandemic. We are particularly pleased to see technical assistance on sodium targets for school meals, level funding for school kitchen equipment grants, reporting on compliance rates for school meal nutrition standards, reporting on added sugars in school meals and federal guidance on adequate meal time for school lunch.
“However, we are concerned that this bill, like last year’s, allows schools to skip serving another vegetable requirement before they serve potatoes in their breakfast offerings. Requiring schools to provide dark green and orange vegetables ensures that the other vegetable subgroup requirements are met before serving a starchy – and often fried – vegetable, such as hash browns. Providing these vegetables first encourages children to try and consume a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods.
“We are also concerned that this bill continues the rider that weakens the stocking standards rule for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This provision could cause more unhealthy foods to qualify as staple foods for SNAP participants.
“We urge Congress to keep the vegetable requirement rider out of the final legislation and hope that further attempts to weaken standards in SNAP will be stopped. Despite these two negative riders, we are grateful the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee produced an otherwise strong bill that supports our nation’s nutrition and food security programs.”
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.