USDA Finalizes Standards For Snacks in School

USDA Finalizes Standards For Snacks In School

Fri 28 Jun 2013

Story by The Food Revolution Team

The USDA releases final competitive food standards

Yesterday the U.S. Department of Agriculture finalized the national school nutrition standards for snacks sold in schools through vending machines, a la carte lines, and school stores. These new standards are the first updates in 30 years and apply nationwide.

A huge thank you to everyone that showed support for these updated standards by commenting on, and sharing them, when they were proposed back in April. The USDA received about 247,800 comments, of which 97% were in support of stronger nutritional standards.

These updates mean that starting next school year, children will see a change in the food available outside of the lunch and breakfast programs – so any foods or drinks sold through vending machines, a la carte lines in cafeterias, school stores and snack bars will need to meet healthy nutrition standards.

The new standards will better address obesity and dietary problems —with sensible limits on calories, saturated and trans fats, salt, and sugars. While sugary sweetened beverages will still be allowed, they must have less than 40 calories per 8 ounces and full calorie soda is no longer permitted. Additionally, after a phase-in period, companies won't be able to just fortify snacks with cheap nutrients to qualify them as healthy; all school foods will have to contain actual healthy food ― some fruit, vegetables, whole grains, or another healthy food component.

Together with the updated school lunch and breakfast standards, which came into play last fall, these changes will go a long way to address the obesity epidemic and tackle some of the nutritional shortfalls in children in the U.S. today.

We’ll update with more information soon, but in the meantime, check out this great new infographic from the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project to find out more about snacks in schools and why these new standards are so important.

The Food Revolution Team

Photo: Taken from the CSPI’s Snacks and Beverages Sold in Schools Pinterest Board.


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