USDA Publishes Interim Final Rule on Nutrition Standards in School Meals

12/01/2017 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service recently released an interim final rule about milk, whole grains and sodium requirements for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. The ruling extends “menu planning flexibilities currently available to many Child Nutrition Program operators.” The menu flexibility includes:

  • the option to serve flavored one-percent milk
  • the option to serve foods made with refined grains instead of foods that are whole-grain rich
  • revising sodium reduction requirements to reflect “Sodium Target 1

The interim rule extends through the 2018-2019 school year.

According to the interim ruling, it intends to address “significant challenges faced by local operators regarding milk, whole grains and sodium requirements and their impact on food development and reformulation, menu planning, and school food service procurement and contract decisions.”

A final ruling regarding the aforementioned menu planning flexibilities is expected to be published in fall 2018. Public comments about the interim ruling are currently being accepted and must be submitted on or before January 29, 2018.

The Academy continues to support school nutrition directors who lead the way in planning and serving children nutritious school meals. The Academy has been at the forefront of issues related to school meal planning and has sought constant input from its member leaders and DPGs. Learn more legislation about childhood nutrition by visiting the Academy's Child Nutrition Reauthorization page.