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USDA releases 'Smart Snacks at School' guidelines
In our last newsletter, PFC mentioned that since our school nutition forum, USDA has released their proposed standards for vending and foods served outside of federally reimbursable meals.The standards proposed, known as Smart Snacks At School are open for public review and comment. These standards are proposed to be included in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and are recommended by the Institute of Medicine. As a state, Ohio has surpassed this legislative process with Ohio Senate Bill 210 by promoting established guidelines for vending and snacks through Alliance for a Healthier Generation's recommendations. Alliance has recently put out a simple guide to understand these proposed standards more clearly. Alliance's guide,shown below, also has a great rule breakdown comparison between their proposed standards published in 2006 versus the USDA's developed this year.
Top 5 Things You Should Know
1. They are in draft form! The USDA has issued a proposed set of guidelines and opened up a 60 day comment period. This means that nutrition experts, parents, teachers, administrators and students can all provide input and feedback regarding the final rule.
2. National guidelines serve as the floor, not the ceiling. The proposed rule will provide a minimum set of guidelines for schools across the country. Individual states and local school boards can build on the minimum standards to fit their individual communities.
3. Many schools are ahead of the curve! Due to the our Healthy Schools Program Framework which provides alternative guidelines to schools on the snacks and beverages they serve and sell, we’ve been working with schools for more than six years to implement healthier options. Take a look!
4. The school nutrition market is evolving. We are working with more than 100 food and beverage companies that have agreed to develop products that meet our strict nutrition guidelines and there has been a good amount of innovation over the past few years. This has resulted in more healthy and tasty choices! Check out our Product Navigator to see examples of brands and products that fit the bill.
5. Help is just a phone call or mouse click away. The Alliance has tools, resources and experts to help schools successfully implement healthier standards for snacks and beverages. We have been helping schools do this for six years! Learn how to do this in your school and get ahead of the curve.