USDA Proposes New School Snack Rules to Cut out Fatty Foods
As the country continues it struggle against obesity, particularly among children, the Department of Agriculture proposed a new "Smart Snacks in School" rule that aims to promote more healthful options in school vending machines, snack bars and cafeterias across the country.
Under the new rule, foods that are high in fat, sugar and sodium will be eradicated from schools across the nation. However, children can still bring the banned snacks for lunch and have them during school fundraising events.
"Increasing the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks in schools will go a long way towards creating a healthy school food environment and improving nutrition for millions of school children," Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh Produce Association's vice president of nutrition and health, said in a statement.
"In addition, this will drive opportunities for increased produce sales to schools."
Highlights of the proposal include:
- Encouraging more healthy snack foods made with whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables or protein as their main ingredients.
- Ensuring snack foods are lower in fat, sugar and sodium.
- Targeting standards that allow variation by age for factors such as beverage portion size and caffeine content.
There are currently already 39 states that have a state law regulating foods sold at schools. The USDA said its proposal would provide a minimum that all states must meet, though some states may have more stringent requirements.