USDA Introduces New School Meal Requirements

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The agency has ironed out new nutrition requirements for every day of the week.

The USDA has ironed out new school meal requirements as proposed under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, signed into law by President Obama in late 2010.

Starting during the 2012-2013 school year, school meals must meet several new requirements, including more daily fruit offerings, daily vegetable offerings, milk products restricted to low-fat and fat-free versions, overall increases in whole grain products, and overall reductions in saturated fats, trans fats, and sodium.

“As parents, we try to prepare decent meals, limit how much junk food our kids eat, and ensure they have a reasonably balanced diet,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “And when we're putting in all that effort the last thing we want is for our hard work to be undone each day in the school cafeteria. When we send our kids to school, we expect that they won't be eating the kind of fatty, salty, sugary foods that we try to keep them from eating at home. We want the food they get at school to be the same kind of food we would serve at our own kitchen tables.”

The new requirements for school meals, detailed at the link above, are to be phased in over a three-year period.