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USDA Proposes Updates to School Meal Standards – New York Family

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USDA Proposes Updates to School Nutrition Standards

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed updates to school meal nutrition standards. Reflecting the latest research in nutrition science, these updates will focus on a few targeted areas.

The proposed changes include affect the following categories and will take effect over the next few years:

  • Added sugarsThe first phase of the proposed change will aim to limit added sugars in foods like cereals, flavored milks and yogurt. Later phases propose weekly limits to added sugars across all meals.
  • milkThe proposed rule continues to encourage kids to drink fat-free or low-fat milk while still allowing some flavored milk to be offered in school meals.
  • Sodium. This multi-year approach would aim to gradually limit weekly sodium levels in school meals.
  • Whole GrainsThe proposed rule would prioritize serving whole grains and offer the option for serving non-whole, enriched grain options.

It’s important to note that these changes wouldn’t be happening overnight. These proposed changes are designed to be gradual and spread out across multiple years.

The first changes would take effect in fall 2024 and the final updates would be in place by fall 2029. For a more detailed timeline, take a look at the proposed timeline put together by the USDA.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said these proposed changes are part of the USDA’s continued goal of supporting and enhancing the health of America’s children through nutritious school meals.

“Many children aren’t getting the nutrition they need, and diet-related diseases are on the rise,” Vilsack said in a press release. “Research shows school meals are the healthiest meals in a day for most kids, proving that they are an important tool for giving kids access to the nutrition they need for a bright future.”

Vilsack also said that strengthening school meals is one of the best steps the USDA can take toward the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of ending hunger and reducing diet-related diseases by 2030.

The USDA is required by law to set standards for foods served through school meal programs, and research has shown that these standards are effective in promoting good nutrition in school-aged children.

Do you have thoughts on these proposed changes? Share them!

The USDA and the Food Nutrition Service are welcoming feedback on the proposed changes, and this feedback will be used to inform the final standards. Comments can be submitted now through April 10 of this year.

These comments can include general feedback or input on some of the options proposed by the USDA.

For example, there are multiple options on the table for changes related to milk and whole grainsand the USDA is requesting feedback on these different options.

Share your feedback on these changes while you can!

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