USDA Provides Guidance on Sodium Reduction in School Meals

01/11/2017 - The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services agency recently released a memo stating the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide sufficient evidence to continue a reduction of sodium content in school meals. The gradual reduction of sodium in school meals began in 2014 and will continue through 2022, in accordance with the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which includes updated school nutrition standards.

The sodium reduction target mentioned in the USDA memo calls for sodium content in school meals to decrease approximately 15 to 30 percent from its baseline. Implementation of the reduction targets will begin on July 1, 2017. However, the memo notes the USDA is providing additional flexibility for schools to fulfill this provision, and “[school food authorities] that are working toward compliance with [the 2017 targets] but not yet fully in compliance will not incur fiscal action during administrative reviews.”

The Academy was engaged in many of the provisions that were included in the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, including this provision that aligned school meas with the updated dietary guidelines. The Academy also led on a provision that provided professional benchmarks for school nutrition employees and directors.