Massachusetts Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages in Public Schools


All competitive foods and beverages sold or provided in public schools during the school day plus 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after the school day must follow the new Massachusetts nutrition standards. Food and beverages sold at bake sales and other school fundraisers are exempt from these guidelines.


Competitive foods refer to all foods or beverages sold or provided as a la carte items in school cafeterias, classrooms, hallways, school stores, snack bars, vending machines, fundraising activities, and school-sponsored or school-related events and all other locations in public schools.


By August 1, 2012

  • Schools must implement MA nutrition standards for competitive foods and beverages outlined below.

By August 1, 2013

  • Schools must phase out all beverages with sugar content greater than that of plain white milk (12g) – this includes flavored milk and milk substitutes.
  • Schools must make nutrition information available for non-packaged competitive foods and beverages served in the cafeteria.

Nutrition Standards:


Juice, milk, milk substitutes, and water are the only beverages to be sold or provided (ie no soda, sports drinks, teas, etc)

Beverages with added sugar or sweeteners not already prohibited will be phased out by August 2013.               


  • Must be 100% fruit and/or vegetable juice with no added sugar
  • Portion size limited to 4 ounce serving

Milk and Milk  Substitutes

  • Must be low-fat (1% or less) or fat-free
  • Portion size limited to 8 ounce serving
  • Flavored milk/milk substitutes shall have no more than 22 grams of sugar per 8 ounces until August 2013.
    • Starting August 2013, flavored milk/milk substitutes containing more than 12 grams sugar will not be allowed.


  • Must be readily available and free to students all day long
  • No added sugar, sweeteners, or artificial sweeteners
  • May contain natural flavorings and/or carbonation



  • Foods shall not exceed 200 calories per item
  • A la carte entrées may have more than 200 calories but not exceed the calorie count of entrée items offered as part of the National School Lunch Program that are the equivalent portion size


  • No more than 35% of calories from fat
  • No more than 10% of calories from saturated fat
  • No trans fat
  • Exemption:
    • 1 ounce servings of nuts, nut butters, seeds, and reduced-fat cheese allowed


  • No more than 35% of total calories from sugar
  • Exemptions:
    • Low-fat or non-fat yogurt (including drinkable yogurt) that contains no more than 30 grams of total sugar per 8 ounce serving
    • 100% fruit with no added sugar


  • Sodium limited to 200 mg per food item
  • A la carte entrées may contain up to 480 mg sodium per food item


  • All bread and grain based foods must be whole grain (ie whole grain should be listed first in the ingredient statement)
  • This applies to crackers, granola bars, chips, bakery items, pasta, rice, etc

 Foods and Beverages 

  • No food or beverage should shall contain more than trace amounts of caffeine
  • No food or beverage shall contain artificial sweeteners
  • Packaged items may contain no more than 1 serving per package

 Additional Regulations

  • Fresh fruits and non-fried vegetables must be sold at all locations where food is sold, except in non-refrigerated or beverage only vending machines
  • Fryolators cannot be used to prepare competitive foods
  • Food preparation and all foods and beverages sold or provided to students must meet all applicable state and federal food safety requirements