Where are these New Regulations Being Generated from and when do they go into Effect?
President Obama’s Child Nutrition & WIC Reauthorization “Health, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010”. MA DPH (Dept Public Health) and DESE (Dept Elementary & Secondary Education) created the “Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods & Beverages” and was signed into law on July 13, 2011. The USDA’s proposed the changes to the meal patterns. Both laws are to be implemented by August 1, 2012.
Why do we Have these New Regulations?
The goal of the standards is to ensure that public schools offer students food and beverage choices that will enhance learning, contribute to their healthy growth and development, and cultivate life-long healthy eating behaviors. They are part of a collaborative initiative to reduce childhood obesity and prevent its complications in childhood and later in adulthood.
What are Competitive Foods?
ALL foods and beverages sold in public schools (in cafeterias, classrooms, hallways, school stores, snack bars, vending machines, fundraising activities etc) during the school day and including 30 minutes before school begins and until 30 minutes after it ends. Foods and beverages sold in vending machines must comply with the new standards at ALL times (24/7/365).
What Control does a School District have in the Oversight of the School Lunch Program? Does the Wellness Policy have any Impact?
The USDA and DESE oversee all public schools (including the meals programs). Therefore, all Massachusetts Public School Districts must comply with these new standards. They are not optional. The Wellness Policy determines what foods and beverages may be served in classrooms (as part of celebrations) and sold before or after the restricted times of the school day. Meaning the wellness policy determines if candy bars, cup cakes, cookies, ice cream etc. can be brought in for class parties or sold as fundraisers.
Why Can't my Child Purchase Snacks During Lunch at the Middle/High School?
In conjunction with the new regulations and in an effort to promote balanced nutrition, healthy lifestyles and overall wellbeing, the a la carte snacks at the secondary schools have been eliminated and replaced with new and more nutritious menu options.
Will my Child be able to Buy Flavored Milk if they come to School with a Packed Lunch?
No. Starting in August 2013, all milk with a sugar content greater than that of plain white (12 gm) will not be allowed to be sold a la carte.
Can Flavored Milk be served with School Meals?
Yes. Lowfat (1%) Flavored milk is allowed with school meals for grades K-12.
Will my Child be able to Buy Drinks from the Vending Machines?
Yes, water and only water (unsweetened, unflavored -except natural flavorings, plain or carbonated). No artificial sweeteners (including Splenda) are allowed.
Will my Child be able to Buy Snacks from the Vending Machines?
Yes, but only those snacks that comply with the new standards and not during the hours of 10:30-1:00 (when school lunch is being served).
Are Foods Sold at Bake Sales, Special Events, and After School Programs still Allowed?
Yes, however, if they are sold during the school day (including 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after) they must comply with the new nutrition standards. If they are sold 30 minutes before or 30 after the day ends, they must comply with the standards put forth in the wellness policy.
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