USDA issues draft regulations on school nutrition

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its draft regulations for the Child Nutrition Act this week. After many concerns about the costs and requirements of the new law, NSBA’s advocacy department is carefully reading the proposal and will issue a response in coming weeks.

The proposed regulations require schools to serve more whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. One of the biggest changes, though, is the limit on sodium content—meals would have to have at most only half of what is currently allowed. Those guidelines are based on 2009 recommendations by the Institute of Medicine.

The USDA provided a sample before-and after school lunch menu to show the proposed changes in the works. For Monday through Wednesday, the main entrees would change from a bean and cheese burrito, pizza sticks, and hot dog, all served with sides such as applesauce, canned pears, and celery and carrot sticks with ranch dressing, to a submarine sandwich on wheat bread, whole wheat spaghetti with meat sauce, and chef salad, accompanied by items like jicama, green pepper strips, and kiwi slices.

NSBA had many concerns, particularly related to the lack of full funding and implementation of the new law. More information about the law is available on the school nutrition resource page.

The proposed regulations are available in the Jan. 13 Federal Register. School officials and the public may also give responses and recommendations to the USDA. All responses are due by April 13.

Joetta Sack-Min|January 14th, 2011|Categories: Announcements, Nutrition, School Board News|


  1. Lisa L. Izant says:

    The menu is so much improved and necessary. NSBA should work within these recommendations and not lobby against them. Let’s work with the department of Agriculture and suppliers and get this done while keeping lunches affordable.
    We would do a diservice to the children of our country by not supporting this pending legislation. Our current generation of schoolchildren already has a life expectancy lower than that of their parents. Education will not matter much if a child cannot contribute to school, community or society because of hypertension, obesity and diabetes.

    Please support this measure and help to find funding. This may not be fully funded, but it’s the only mandate that could actually save a life.

    Thank you.

  2. Sharon Peterson says:

    As a school foodservice director, I can say that we have, in our school district, already implemented these changes – and have, in fact, been following this criteria for some time now. As to the sodium content?? I’m not certain of our standing at this point in time, but it’s my understanding that schools have a 10-year period in which to reach the proposed level(?). I guess more research on my part would be required before making a statement either pro or con to the parameters that current guidelines are espousing in that area.

    Of far more concern to me as a parent, and a professional in the school foodservice industry, is the question of how we can make students and parents understand what affect the garbage diet they and their children eat OUTSIDE of the school environment is having on their health – both NOW and in the future. As much as school foodservice strives to make meals healthier, we can do nothing to keep children away from the garbage they eat outside of the school environment!!!!

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