USDA Issues Proposed Rule to Restore School Meal Flexibilities

2020-11-24

USDA Food and Nutrition Service has announced proposed regulations to restore flexibilities for milk, whole grain and sodium requirements in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP).

The proposed rule:

  • Maintains Target 1 sodium limits through School Year (SY) 2023/24. Target 2 limits take effect in SY 2024/25 and the final target is eliminated.
  • Requires half of all grains served under NSLP/SBP to be whole grain rich.
  • Allows the service of low-fat flavored milk.

USDA issued the proposed regulations following the April 13th federal district court ruling that vacated the 2018 Final Rule Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements due to procedural issues. SNA urged USDA to restore the flexibilities to ease the burden on school meal programs.

USDA established a 30-day comment period for the proposed rule and "intends to issue a final rule in spring 2021 to ensure that stakeholders can continue to rely on the operational flexibilities proposed in this rule." SNA encourages school nutrition professionals to submit comments on impact and importance of milk, whole grain and sodium flexibilities. SNA is currently drafting the Association’s comments in support of this proposed rule and will share them with members as soon as they are submitted.

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