On February 4, the USDA announced a Final Rule establishing new, temporary milk, grain and sodium standards for school meals for SY 2022-2023 through SY 2023-2024.
Child Nutrition Programs: Transitional Standards for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium establishes the following:
- Whole Grains: At least 80% of the grains served in school lunch and breakfast each week must be whole grain-rich; and
- Sodium: The weekly sodium limit for school lunch and breakfast will remain at Target 1 in SY 2022-2023. For school lunch only, there will be a 10% decrease in the limit in SY 2023-2024.
- Milk: Schools and childcare providers serving participants ages six and older may offer flavored low-fat (1%) milk in addition to nonfat flavored milk and nonfat or low-fat unflavored milk;
USDA also announced it intends to issue a Proposed Rule this fall that moves towards updating nutrition standards for the long term. SNA’s press release on the rule praised USDA for acknowledging challenges faced by school meal programs and urged Congress to extend pandemic child nutrition waivers through SY 2022-23. SNA is reviewing the Rule and its full implications for school meal programs. Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.