Take one minute today. Tell the USDA how you feel.
The United States Department of Agriculture has proposed a new national basic minimum nutrition standardfor all snacks and drinks served or sold in schools.
Under this new rule, healthy foods won’t be limited to lunch. They’ll be offered in school stores, vending machines, and in “a la carte” lines in school cafeterias (where students can buy individual dishes that aren’t part of the official school meal service).
But here’s the catch! The proposed standard is only a draft. The USDA is inviting public comment for 60 days. Once the comment period ends, they’ll review the feedback and finalize the proposal.
Now's the time to make your voice heard. Anyone who cares about healthy school foods can leave a comment. You don’t need to be a current student or parent.
Overview of the new rule
- More snacks will feature whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables as their main ingredients.
- More snacks will include essential vitamins, minerals and fiber.
- Full-size candy bars, chips and other high calorie/high fat snacks will be prohibited.
- In elementary schools, drinks will be limited to water, low-fat milks, and 100% juice. That means no more soda in schools. (California is leading the nation on this: we banned soda in schools in 2005).
- A wider variety of beverages can be sold in high schools, including no-calorie flavored waters and low-calorie sports drinks.
Tips for making a public comment
- Clearly express support for the new rule. Even if you’d like to see changes, make clear that you support the USDA’s overall approach and believe that all foods served in schools should meet minimum nutrition standards.
- Emphasize the importance of consistent standards for all foods. It makes no sense to serve healthy foods in the school lunch line, but chips and soda in vending machine down the hall!
- If you believe the rules should be stronger, say so! If you want sports drinks out, or locally grown foods in, this is your chance to be heard.