USDA proposed the establishment of minimum national professional standards and training requirements for school nutrition professionals who manage and operate the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

The standards, a provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA), are designed to ensure that school nutrition personnel have the training and tools to plan, prepare and purchase healthy products for school meals, according to Dr. Janey Thornton, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services.

Thorton, a former school nutrition director, said schools are at the forefront of national efforts to improve nutrition and reduce obesity among children.

This proposal would:

• Create minimum hiring standards for school food authority directors based on a school district’s size;

• Establish minimum hiring standards for state directors of school nutrition and state distributing agencies; and

• Require minimum annual training for all new and current school nutrition professionals.