Nearly all Montana districts compliant with USDA's new meal pattern

Ninety-eight percent of district qualify for 6-cent reimbursement.

Aug. 22—Montana is one of only a handful of states to fully — or come close to fully — implement healthier guidelines in their school lunches, a new report from the USDA shows.

The report indicated that Montana is 98 percent compliant when it comes to providing more fruits and vegetables in lunch options for kids who choose to eat school meals, as well as other factors that were required to be implemented by the USDA in the last year. Only two states were fully compliant in the first year of the new program — Colorado and Florida — with just Montana, Oklahoma, North Carolina and South Carolina at least 98 percent compliant.

“It was a very busy year,” said Chris Emerson, school nutrition program director for the Montana Office of Public Instruction.