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USDA Posts Final School Meal Standards

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The final school meal standards are in the Federal Register (click on the pdf for a format with fewer pages). View the sites for the highlights (a comparison of the current meal standards to the new ones) and the implementation timeline.

Overall, the new school meal standards look great and most of the lunch standards go into effect in the school year beginning in 2012. They:

  • double fruit and vegetable servings and increase the variety of vegetables
  • set first ever standards for sodium, trans fat and whole grains for school meals
  • require all the milk to be low fat or fat free
  • set calorie standards that address not only hunger but also obesity

Congress prevented USDA from limiting French fries and required it continue to count pizza as a vegetable. But still, the new standards will do so much to improve school meals (for ex, under the new rules pizza will have to come with an additional vegetable and be lower in sodium and have a whole grain rich crust).

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