[UPDATE] Florida School Lunch Oversight Changed

By: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Release
By: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Release

[UPDATE] THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, June 24, 2011 -

Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation Thursday that transfers oversight of the state’s school lunch program to state agriculture officials, who will now be responsible for providing meals to the state’s 2.6 million school children.

A top priority of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, the transfer of school lunch oversight from the Department of Education comes as the state tries to educate a generation of children and their parents on the health benefits of a balanced diet while opening the public school system to Florida agricultural products.

Putnam hailed the governor’s decision to sign the measure (SB 1312), dubbed the Healthy Schools for Healthy Lives Act. The measure was an agency priority, with Putnam arguing that most federal nutrition programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and that overseeing school lunches would dovetail efficiently with other agency responsibilities.

“Together, we’re going to direct more of Florida’s fresh fruits and vegetables to Florida students,” Putnam said in a statement. “We’re going to help Florida’s children build healthier eating habits. And we’re going to take on the challenges of the childhood obesity epidemic.”

In 2008, 17 percent of American children between the ages of 6 and 19 were obese, triple the rate in 1976, according to a 2010 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Children and adolescents, the CDC found, are more likely to develop obesity-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, which used to be limited to adults. Another study of five to 17-year-olds found that 70% of obese children had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease and 39% had at least two risk factors.

The law transfers 45 full-time equivalent positions and an estimated $810 million in federal funds and $16.8 million in general revenue from the Department of Education to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the administration of the school food and nutrition programs.

In May, Putnam said he was considering placing restrictions on the kinds of snack food that could be distributed from school vending machines as one avenue to encourage better eating habits among students.

Public schools have become the conduits for programs aimed at improving the diets of growing children, many of whom rely upon free and reduced school lunches to meet their daily nutritional needs. School breakfast and summer lunch programs have over the years become more widespread as officials attempt to improve the diets of a generation of young people more familiar with the names of fast food chains than vegetables.

“With the Healthy Schools for Healthy Lives Act signed today, we can continue our mission of ending childhood hunger and extending nutrition to all of Florida’s children,” said Debra Susie, Executive Director for Florida Impact and the Florida Partnership to End Childhood Hunger.

______________________________________

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - June 23, 2011 -

Gov. Rick Scott has signed bills limiting lawsuits against automakers and giving the state's agriculture commissioner authority over school food programs.

Scott signed the new laws Thursday.

The lawsuit measure known as SB 142 will make it more difficult
for injured people to win product liability damages from automakers
and other manufacturers.

The school nutrition law -- SB 1312 -- was a priority for
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. It shifts oversight of lunch
and other food programs to Putnam's department from the Department of Education.

The State Board of Education had discussed the idea of limiting
sugary drinks in schools, but it no longer will have the authority
to do that.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam issued the following statement today in response to Governor Rick Scott signing the Healthy Schools for Healthy Lives Act (S.B. 1312) into law:

“Today, Governor Rick Scott signed the Healthy Schools for Healthy Lives Act (S.B. 1312) into law. I applaud Governor Scott for embracing our collective effort to improve nutrition in school cafeterias across the State of Florida. Together, we’re going to direct more of Florida’s fresh fruits and vegetables to Florida students. We’re going to help Florida’s children build healthier eating habits. And we’re going to take on the challenges of the childhood obesity epidemic. I want to personally thank Representative Seth McKeel and Senator Gary Siplin for their leadership in this effort. With the Healthy Schools for Healthy Lives Act signed into law, we’re putting the children of Florida and their health first.”


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  • by Anonymous on Jun 24, 2011 at 04:30 PM
    I dont miss eating ANY of that disgusting food when I was a youngin. It might help if they served something fit to eat!
  • by Jill Location: Tally on Jun 24, 2011 at 12:44 PM
    Hopefully, the children will get to learn what vegetables and fruits are and begin to eat them ! It is PAST time to place nutrition top in the schools. The Florida legislators took all the high school food and nutrition courses out of the schools in the 80's and now we have lost two generations that do not know how to eat healthy. To solve the healthcare crisis with all these deadly diseases all it takes is learning to EAT healthy !!! Rick Scott didn't think of this on his own !! Many of us have been fighting for YEARS to get good nutrition BACK in the schools !
  • by m Location: tallahassee on Jun 24, 2011 at 10:04 AM
    You know. I wish they would hire actual cooks in the schools instead of people just to warm up the food that is already pre-cooked. I ate lunch at my child's school one time and it was disgusting. But, it's hard to send lunch with your kids because of the weather and the food possibly spoiling. So what choice do we parents have. Pay for lousy food. No wonder our kids choose the unhealthy foods at school. The more healthy entrees aren't fit for pigs.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 24, 2011 at 09:59 AM
    we can get mad at rick scott for anything else, but this needed to be done. (i also appreciate the drug testing for welfare) other than that, rick scott is the worst thing that ever happened to florida...right up there with hurricane charley.
  • by Logical Move Location: Tallahassee on Jun 24, 2011 at 07:13 AM
    This is a very logical change, DOA should have always been in control of this. DOE being in charge is like having the Librarian overseeing the Utility Company, just because there is electricity in the library.
  • by Terri Location: Tallahassee on Jun 23, 2011 at 02:58 PM
    That man doesn't do anything for this state or the people. Everything he does is for himself or his own cronies no matter who he has to step on.
  • by ggfsu Location: Tallahassee on Jun 23, 2011 at 02:48 PM
    Scotty's Choice: That wouldn't be much different from what they serve the kids now in the cafeterias!!
  • by CORP. GOV Location: smoke land on Jun 23, 2011 at 02:10 PM
    not the peoples gov but corp gov
  • by THOMAS Location: TALLY on Jun 23, 2011 at 01:54 PM
    IF THE GOVERNMENT DIDN'T WASTE SO MUICH MONEY FAMILIES WOULD BE ABLE TO GO PLACES AND KEEP KIDS ACTIVE. NOW IT TAKES ALL ONE CAN DO TO PUT GAS IN TEH CAR TO DRIVE TO WORK. WHY NOT CLOSE DOWN ALL GOVERNMENTS FOR 2 WEEKS . PEOLE MIGHT THEN HAVE SOME MONEY TO GO CAMPING, BEACH WALKING, HIKING, FISHING JUST KEEPING KIDS ACTIVE. STOP WASTING SO MUCH OF MY @###$!#@#$$ TAX DOLLARS.
  • by me on Jun 23, 2011 at 01:42 PM
    I hope lunches get cheaper!!!
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