On December 6, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue empowered local schools with additional options to serve healthy and appealing meals.
A final rule on school meal flexibilities, to be published later this month in the Federal Register, increases local flexibility in implementing school nutrition standards for milk, whole grains, and sodium.
Secretary Perdue said the final rule will deliver on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) promise, made in a May 2017 proclamation, to develop forward-thinking strategies that ensure school nutrition standards are both healthful and practical.
MSBA has long advocated for this flexibility and applauds the final rule. We will continue discussions with the USDA and Congress about additional regulatory and legislative improvements to school meal programs that will help ensure school districts are able to provide affordable healthy meals to children.
The Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements final rule offers schools new options as they serve meals under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP) and other federal child nutrition programs.
- provides the option to offer flavored, low-fat milk to children participating in school meal programs, and to participants ages six and older in the Special Milk Program for Children (SMP) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP);
- requires half of the weekly grains in the school lunch and breakfast menu be whole grain-rich;
- and provides more time to reduce sodium levels in school meals.