Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's
The Child Nutrition Outreach Program is interested in federal and state child nutrition policy as it applies to our school and community partners. This section of our website features information about policies that impact program accessibility, nutritional quality, and financial stability. Please check back frequently for updates.
Child Nutrition Policy Updates:
Structured Learning Time Policy Clarification
In February 2015, Commissioner Mitchell Chester released a clarification stating that instruction provided during Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) can count toward meeting a school's structured learning time requirement (Full text), provided the following conditions are met:
USDA Offers Flexibility on Whole-Grain Pasta Requirement
Due to the scarcity of whole grain pasta items on the market that maintain their quality when prepared in large-scale cooking operations, the USDA is offering a two-year flexibility in the requirement that all pasta items served be 50% whole grain. Schools will have to demonstrate significant difficulty serving whole-grain pasta and should contact their state agency for details and permission. USDA Press Release.
Child Nutrition Re-Authorization Briefs:
In February 2014, the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) released the first in a series of briefs outlining their priorities for the upcoming Child Nutrition Re-Authorization that will come before US Congress in 2015. The briefs outline steps the legislature could take to remove barriers to school breakfast participation, including:
Read FRAC's reasons for calling for these goals in the full brief here.
New Standards for School Meals
On Wednesday, January 25th 2012 the First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new and improved nutrition standards for school meals, the first major changes in 15 years.
The new standards for school meals will increase access to healthier meals for 32 million kids that participate in school meal programs every school day.
Changes to the school meal standards include:
• Fruits and vegetables offered every day of the week
• substantially increase offerings of whole grain-rich foods
• Offering only fat-free or low-fat milk varieties;
• Limiting calories based on the age of children being served to ensure proper portion size; and
• Increasing the focus on reducing the amounts of saturated fat, trans fats and sodium.
Key changes will be largely phased in over a three-year period, starting in School Year 2012-2013.
Please check back regularly for updates regarding the new standards for school meals.