Notice & Comment

USDA Proposes Nutrition Standards for School Lunches, by Shannon Allen

The Food and Nutrition Service (“FNS”) issued an interim final rule to amend the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program regulations.  The purpose of the rule is to “improve the health and well-being of the Nation’s children, increase consumption of healthful foods during the school day, and create an environment that reinforces the development of healthy eating habits.”  The rule obliges schools participating in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program to make drinkable water available to children at no cost in the place where lunches are served during the meal service. In addition, the interim rule creates nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools, other than food sold under the lunch and breakfast programs.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (“HHFKA”) specifies that “such nutrition standards apply to all foods sold (a) outside the school meal programs; (b) on the school campus; and (c) at any time during the school day.”  HHFKA requires established nutrition standards for such foods be consistent with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  The HHFKA requires the consideration of:

  • authoritative scientific recommendations for nutrition standards,
  • existing school nutrition standards, including voluntary standards for beverages and snack foods;
  • current State and local standards;
  • the practical application of the nutrition standards; and
  • special exemptions for infrequent school-sponsored fundraisers.

The standards for food and beverages in this interim final rule represent minimum standards that local educational agencies, school food authorities, and schools are required to meet.  This rule is effective August 27, 2013 and State agencies, local educational agencies, and school food authorities must implement the provisions as follows:

  1. the potable water provisions must be implemented no later than August 27, 2013, and
  2. all other provisions must be implemented beginning on July 1, 2014.

Interested parties are invited to submit comments by October 28, 2013 by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to, select “Food and Nutrition Service” from the agency drop-down menu, and click “Submit.” In the Docket ID column of the search results select “FNS-2011-0019” to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically, or
  • By Mail: Send comments to William Wagoner, Section Chief, Policy and Program Development Branch, Child Nutrition Division, Food and Nutrition Service, P.O. Box 66874, Saint Louis, MO 63166.

This post was originally published on the legacy ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Notice and Comment blog, which merged with the Yale Journal on Regulation Notice and Comment blog in 2015.

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