Chuck Blomberg, a Schwan spokesman, denied via email that his company prodded the SNA to pursue the waiver proposal. “Contrary to what’s been implied in some reports, our company has not taken a position on the proposed waiver,” Blomberg wrote. “We also have not advocated for a waiver with any lawmakers or other organizations.”
The company, whose brands include Red Baron and Big Daddy’s pizza, LiveSmart, Mrs. Smith’s desserts and Minh Asian products, is reformulating products to meet school meal requirements, he said.
Either way, it shouldn’t be surprising that a money crunch is helping drive the debate over school meal rules, given the history of the 2010 health care law that set the mandates in motion. The law renewed school lunch and breakfast programs, as well as the Women, Infants and Children program and several smaller food programs.
Groups dissatisfied with portions of the House and Senate bills thought they could make changes once the legislation went to negotiations between the two chambers. Although the House Education and Labor Committee reported the bill out, it never went to the floor. The Senate Agriculture Committee got its version through the Senate and that was the version that became law.
In June, the School Nutrition Association had requested a meeting with the first lady and Vilsack to detail their major concerns and to lay out suggested remedies. Instead, the organization and its ally, the National School Boards Association, got a roundtable discussion on July 10 with Vilsack, Let’s Move Executive Director Sam Kass and several organizations that generally support the nutrition standards.