December 7, 2012 – During USDA’s annual State Agency Meeting, hosted by SNA, USDA officials announced the release of new guidance which eliminates the weekly maximums for grains and proteins under the new meal pattern for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year. Calorie maximums for school meals will remain in place. Click here to read the guidance, officially released today. USDA also announced that new guidance on breakfast requirements will be released soon.
SNA President Sandra Ford, SNS, who presented at the meeting, commented, “School nutrition professionals have faced significant menu planning, operating, financial challenges and more as a result of the new meal pattern requirements. USDA's new guidance acknowledges those challenges and gives school meal programs more flexibility. By easing weekly maximums for grains and proteins but maintaining calorie limits, USDA protects the nutritional integrity of the new standards while giving school meal programs more time to design healthy menus that meet both the new standards and students’ tastes.”
USDA has not announced whether these new flexibilities for grain and protein requirements will continue into the 2013-14 school year, but officials indicated they will continue to assess the requirements over the coming months.
“SNA has been in close communication with USDA this school year, sharing the challenges and successes of SNA members throughout meal pattern implementation, including concerns about the grain and protein weekly maximums,” said Ford. “SNA will continue to report back to USDA on how these new flexibilities ease the burden on school meal programs and will make additional recommendations as warranted.”
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