Cranberry juice OK for school foodservice, USDA says

Federal agency had considered banning juice over concerns about added sugar.

July 10 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's recently released school meal regulations do not call for the reduction or banning of cranberry juice in school foodservice, much to the delight of cranberry growers in the U.S. Growers in Wisconsin and other states had been lobbying Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack against a ban, arguing that the health benefits of cranberries outweigh USDA's concerns over added sugar used in making the juice.

The new rules come about two months after the USDA agreed to purchase $5 million in excess cranberry juice concentrate, or about 200,000 gallons of concentrate, or 120,000 to 130,000 barrels of fruit, for domestic food nutrition assistance programs, after a big harvest in Canada and a decline in juice sales led to a worldwide surplus.

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