USDA released new competitive foods regs

Healthier foods targeted for vending, snacks sold in schools.

Feb. 1—More healthy foods, less junk food. That’s the basis of the USDA’s newly released Smart Snacks in Schools regulations, required under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

The proposed rule will be published soon, but highlights include:

More of the foods we should encourage. Promoting availability of healthy snack foods with whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables or protein foods as their main ingredients.

Less of the foods we should avoid. Ensuring that snack food items are lower in fat, sugar, and sodium and provide more of the nutrients kids need.

Targeted standards. Allowing variation by age group for factors such as beverage portion size and caffeine content.

Flexibility for important traditions. Preserving the ability for parents to send in bagged lunches of their choosing or treats for activities such as birthday parties, holidays, and other celebrations; and allowing schools to continue traditions like occasional fundraisers and bake sales.

Reasonable limitations on when and where the standards apply. Ensuring that standards only affect foods that are sold on school campus during the school day. Foods sold at an afterschool sporting event or other activity will not be subject to these requirements.

Flexibility for state and local communities. Allowing significant local and regional autonomy by only establishing minimum requirements for schools. States and schools that have stronger standards than what is being proposed will be able to maintain their own policies.

Significant transition period for schools and industry. The standards will not go into effect until at least one full school year after public comment is considered and an implementing rule is published to ensure that schools and vendors have adequate time to adapt.

These regulations do no affect reimbursable meals sold in the cafeteria. They do affect à la carte, vending and snack sales. The rules also do not affect classroom parties, fundraisers or items sold at sporting events.

"School Nutrition Association (SNA) supports the goal of ensuring that all foods and beverages sold in schools are healthy options for students,” said SNA President Sandra Ford. “School nutrition professionals have been working hard to increase nutritious choices available in the cafeteria by serving more whole grains, fruits and vegetables and limiting the sodium and fat in meals-all part of ongoing efforts to implement new nutrition standards for school meals. SNA looks forward to reviewing the details of these newly proposed competitive food regulations and providing feedback through the public comment process.”  

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
savory yogurt parfait

From Dannon Foodservice.

What consumers eat and, most importantly, when they’re eating it has changed significantly in recent years, signaling opportunity for operators able to capitalize on this evolution.

For example, some 83% of consumers said they were daily snackers in 2016, according to Technomic’s Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report . That’s up from 76% just two years earlier. Snacking is growing across many channels from retail prepared foods to bakery and coffee cafes, fast-food locations and more.

Busy lifestyles, smaller households with greater meal...

Industry News & Opinion

Labor secretary nominee Andy Puzder has officially bowed out of consideration for the cabinet position, according to the Associated Press .

Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants—the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.—was tired of being under fire for hiring an undocumented immigrant as a nanny and being accused 26 years ago of physically abusing his wife, an unnamed source told CBS News . The agency reported that Puzder was unlikely to show for the start of his confirmation hearings tomorrow.

Puzder has also been attacked by organized labor for comments suggesting that...

Industry News & Opinion

Risley Dining Room at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., has just become 100 percent gluten-free, 14850.com reports.

For the past two years, the university has slowly phased out gluten in the dining hall’s menu by eliminating it in its stir fries, biscuits and brownies.

Instead of offering gluten-free versions of typical college fare, including pizza and pasta, the dining service team aimed for more sophisticated restaurant-style items.

Along with being gluten-free, Risley is also peanut free and tree-nut free.

The dining room is the second college eatery...

Industry News & Opinion

James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., recently hosted a weeklong program called Weigh the Waste, which aimed to show students how much food gets wasted in dining halls, The Breeze reports.

Throughout the week, students placed food they were about to throw away on a scale located near the trash bins at one of their dining halls. At the end of the week, the school tallied the waste and saw that 817 pounds of food had been wasted.

School officials hope that the annual program, which it’s hosted since 2015, will remind dining hall patrons to only take as much food as...

FSD Resources