BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 626
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          Date of Hearing:   April 30, 2013

                            ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HEALTH
                                 Richard Pan, Chair
             AB 626 (Skinner and Lowenthal) - As Amended:  April 23, 2013
           
          SUBJECT  :   School nutrition.

           SUMMARY  :   Makes numerous changes to current law related to  
          school nutrition, mostly to conform to the federal Healthy  
          Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA).  Specifically,  this bill  :   


          1)Requires meals served by the After School Education and Safety  
            (ASES) Program to conform to the nutrition standards of the  
            United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) at-risk  
            afterschool meal component of the federal Child and Adult Care  
            Food Program (CAFCP) or the National School Lunch Program, as  
            specified.

          2)Removes a requirement that students sell food items in order  
            for the items to qualify for an exception from nutritional  
            standards.

          3)Requires beverages sold in elementary schools to meet current  
            standards from one-half hour before the school day until  
            one-half hour after the school day, rather than regardless of  
            the time of day, as specified.

          4)Prohibits school district governing boards from having  
            multiple cafeteria funds and revolving accounts and prohibits  
            these funds from being used in the construction, alteration,  
            or improvement of a central food processing plant, for the  
            installation of additional cafeteria equipment for the central  
            food processing plant, and for the lease or purchase of  
            vehicles used primarily in connection with the central food  
            processing plant.

          5)Deletes an existing authorization for school districts with an  
            average daily attendance of over 100,000 to allow an  
            expenditure from the cafeteria fund a share of money, agreed  
            upon by a contract, which is generated from the joint sale of  
            items between the cafeteria and an associated student body  
            store.









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          6)Specifies the cost of providing adequate housing for  
            cafeterias, including kitchen facilities, is a charge against  
            the funds of the school district; and, specifies the cost of  
            the lease or purchase of cafeteria equipment and of vending  
            machines and their installation and housing is a charge  
            against cafeteria funds.

          7)Requires the governing board to only approve reimbursement for  
            vending machines if one or both of the following apply:

             a)   The vending machines are owned and operated by the  
               school food services department, sell meals that qualify  
               for federal meal program reimbursement, and are equipped  
               with appropriate point of service meal counting software;  
               and,

             b)   The vending machines sell food and beverages that comply  
               with state and federal competitive food laws and  
               regulations. 

          8)Prohibits governing boards from maintaining a cafeteria fund  
            reserve for purchase, lease, maintenance, or replacement of  
            cafeteria equipment.

          9)Deletes the authorization for the Superintendent of Public  
            Instruction (SPI) to monitor school districts for compliance  
            with school nutrition standards; deletes the requirement that  
            each school district monitored, report to the SPI in the  
            coordinated review effort regarding the extent to which it has  
            complied; deletes the requirement that noncompliant school  
            districts adopt a corrective action plan; and, instead,  
            specifies that compliance with the school nutrition standards  
            shall be monitored by the California Department of Education  
            (CDE) in conformity with the USDA's administrative review  
            process.

          10)Deletes the Linking Education, Activity, and Food (LEAF)  
            Pilot grant program. 

          11)Deletes obsolete code sections.

          12)Makes numerous technical and clarifying changes.

           EXISTING LAW  : 









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          1)Limits the foods that may be sold to students at an  
            elementary, middle, or high school during the school day to  
            full meals and individually sold portions of nuts, nut  
            butters, seeds, eggs, cheese packaged for individual sale,  
            fruit, vegetables that have not been deep fried, and legumes.   
            Establishes nutrition standards for individually sold food  
            portions sold in schools, as specified.

          2)Regardless of the time of day, limits the beverages allowed to  
            be sold to students at an elementary school to unsweetened  
            fruit- or vegetable-based drinks, as specified; unsweetened  
            drinking water; or milk and milk substitutes, as specified. 

          3)From one-half hour before the start of the school day until  
            one-half hour after the end of the school day, limits the  
            beverages that may be sold to students at a middle, junior, or  
            high school to unsweetened fruit- or vegetable-based drinks,  
            as specified; unsweetened drinking water; milk and milk  
            substitutes, as specified; or electrolyte replacement  
            beverages, as specified.

          4)Prohibits a school or school district, from one-half hour  
            before until one-half hour after school hours, from selling  
            food containing artificial trans fat, as specified, unless the  
            food is provided as part of a USDA meal program.

          5)Creates an exception from the requirements in 1) and 2) above  
            for elementary schools' fundraising events, provided that the  
            food items are sold by pupils of the school and the sale takes  
            place either away from school premises or at least one-half  
            hour after the end of the school day.

          6)Creates an exception from the requirement in 1) above for  
            middle, junior, or high schools where: a) the sale of food  
            items takes place off of and away from school premises; b) the  
            sale of food items takes place on school premises at least  
            one-half hour after the end of the school day; or c) the sale  
            of food items occurs during a school-sponsored pupil activity  
            after the end of the school day.

          7)Creates an exception from the requirement in 3) above for  
            middle, junior, or high schools where: a) the sale occurs  
            during a school-sponsored event and takes place at least  
            one-half hour after the end of the school day; and b) vending  
            machines, pupil stores, and cafeterias are used later than  








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            one-half hour after the end of the school day.

          8)Establishes the ASES Program to serve pupils in kindergarten  
            and grades one to nine, inclusive, and requires an entity that  
            applies to operate a program to agree that snacks made  
            available by the program conform to the nutrition standards in  
            1) above.

          9)Authorizes the governing board of a school district to  
            establish cafeterias in the schools under its jurisdiction;  
            authorizes the moneys received for the sale of food or for any  
            services performed by the cafeterias to be paid into the  
            county treasury to the credit of the cafeteria fund of the  
            particular school district; and creates requirements for  
            cafeteria funds, as specified. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   This bill has not yet been analyzed by a fiscal  
          committee.

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)PURPOSE OF THIS BILL  .  According to the author of this bill,  
            HHFKA has created a new set of nutritional standards for  
            elementary, middle, and high schools. The HHFKA also aims at  
            increasing access for students and improving oversight of  
            nutritional programs.  HHFKA authorizes funding and sets  
            policy for USDA's core child nutrition programs, which  
            include: the National School Lunch Program, the School  
            Breakfast Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program  
            for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the Summer Food Service  
            Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.  

          Improving child nutrition is one of the focal points of the  
            HHFKA.  Across the country, schools serve meals on a daily  
            basis to more than 31 million children.  Unfortunately, one  
            out of every three children is now considered overweight or  
            obese.  HHFKA represents the nation's continued commitment to  
            provide all children with nutritious food in schools, with an  
            emphasis on foods that are healthy. 

          In addition to setting nutritional standards, the HHFKA also  
            regulates how nutritional programs operate.  For example, the  
            HHFKA sets policies on what expenses are allowable using  
            cafeteria funds and limits the amount of reserves in cafeteria  
            funds.  The HHFKA also sets improved oversight policies that  








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            will ensure that students are being provided with nutritious  
            meals.   

          The author writes that the intent of this bill is to make  
            changes to current state laws in order to comply with the new  
            federal laws and regulations set forth by HHFKA.

           2)BACKGROUND  .  Among its many provisions, the federal HHFKA  
            requires the USDA to establish nutrition standards for all  
            foods sold in schools other than foods in the  
            federally-supported school meals programs, known as  
            "competitive foods."  In February of 2013, the USDA published  
            a proposed rule "Smart Snacks in School," as the first step in  
            the process to create national standards.  According to the  
            USDA, the new proposed standards draw on recommendations from  
            the Institute of Medicine, existing voluntary standards  
            already implemented by thousands of schools around the  
            country, and healthy food and beverage offerings already  
            available in the marketplace.

          The proposed USDA regulations are, in part, based on  
            California's competitive food and beverage laws, which were  
            passed in 2005.  Since then, a number of studies have examined  
            the impact of California's standards.  One study examining the  
            statewide impact of the nutrition and beverage standards found  
            that competitive food revenues declined by more than 5% and   
            la carte sales declined in 60% of the schools studied;  
            however, these revenue declines were offset by increased sale  
            of school meals.  As a result, all of the schools studied  
            experienced an increase in total revenues (including both meal  
            participation and competitive food and beverage sales)  
            following adoption of the state standards.

          Another study analyzed the effects of a competitive food policy  
            in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the  
            statewide California food and beverage standards.  The study  
            found a significantly lower rate of increase in body mass  
            index (BMI) among fifth graders in LAUSD and, in the rest of  
            California, a significantly lower rate of increase in BMI  
            among fifth grade boys and seventh graders overall following  
            implementation of the district and statewide standards,  
            respectively.  

           3)PROVISIONS  .
                








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               a)   Consistency between elementary, middle, and high  
               schools  .  This bill makes minor changes that bring  
               consistency to the standards for competitive foods sold at  
               elementary schools and those sold at middle and high  
               schools.  The consequences of these changes are mostly  
               clarifying.  One change expands of a restriction on sugar  
               content that currently applies to whole grain and dairy  
               food items (no more than 35% of total weight from  
               naturally-occurring or added sugar) to also include  
               individually sold portions of nuts, nut butters, seeds,  
               eggs, and cheese packaged for individual sale.  As these  
               items are not likely to have such a high sugar content,  
               this change will have little effect in practice. 

              b)   Beverages sold in elementary schools  .  Under current  
               law, regardless of the time of day, drinks in elementary  
               schools are limited to water, milk, or fruit and vegetable  
               drinks with no sweetener, as specified.  Current law  
               contains an exception for drinks sold in vending machines  
               at least half an hour before school or half an hour after  
               school.  This bill deletes that exception, and instead  
               provides that drink restrictions for elementary schools  
               only apply from a half hour before the school day to a half  
               hour after the school day.  This is a slight weakening of  
               the standards restricting the sale of sugar-sweetened  
               beverages in elementary schools.  Is that the author's  
               intent?

              c)   Afterschool programs  .  Federal reimbursement for snacks  
               served in at-risk afterschool programs has been available  
               through CACFP since the 1990s.  HHFKA expanded federal  
               reimbursement through this program to also include meals.   
               Under current state law, ASES Programs must agree that  
               snacks will conform to the state's current nutrition  
               standards for competitive foods.  However, the law is  
               silent on meals provided through these programs.  This bill  
               provides that meals served through these programs must  
               conform to the nutrition standards of the at-risk  
               afterschool component of CACFP or the National School Lunch  
               Program.

              d)   Cafeteria funds  .  The HHFKA contains a number of  
               provisions related to school food service accounts and the  
               use of food service funds.  This bill makes changes related  
               to school cafeteria funds to comply with these provisions.








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           4)SUPPORT  .  In support, California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA)  
            writes that California has been a national leader in enacting  
            state laws that strengthen the integrity of the school meal  
            programs and improve the nutritional quality of foods offered  
            in schools.  In light of the federal regulations recently  
            enacted by the HHFKA, some of these state statutes are  
            confusing, ambiguous, or now insufficient.  CFPA states that  
            enacting this bill will ensure that sections of the California  
            Education Code that relate to the operation of child nutrition  
            programs are aligned with the HHFKA.

           5)DOUBLE REFERRAL  .  This bill is double referred. It passed the  
            Assembly Committee on Education with a vote of 6-0 on April  
            17, 2013.

           6)PREVIOUS LEGISLATION  .

             a)   SB 638 (Torlakson), Chapter 380, Statutes of 2006,  
               requires all snacks served in ASES programs to meet  
               nutrition standards.

             b)   SB 12 (Escutia), Chapter 235, Statutes of 2005, sets  
               nutrition standards for competitive foods sold in schools  
               outside of federally-funded meal programs.

             c)   SB 965 (Escutia), Chapter 237, Statutes of 2005, sets  
               nutrition standards for beverages sold in schools. 

             d)   SB 19 (Escutia), Chapter 913, Statutes of 2001, requires  
               the reimbursement a school receives for free and  
               reduced-price meals sold or served to pupils in elementary  
               or middle schools to be increased to $0.23, establishes  
               nutrition standards for competitive foods and beverages  
               sold in elementary and middle schools, and creates a pilot  
               program for high schools and middle schools to voluntarily  
               adopt nutrition standards.  

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

          Support 
           
          Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson (sponsor)
          California Black Health Network
          California Chiropractic Association








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          California Food Policy Advocates
          California Optometric Association

           Opposition 
           
          None on file.
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Ben Russell / HEALTH / (916) 319-2097