Posts Tagged ‘USDA’
Ready, Set — Eat Healthy! Is your school ready to implement the HHFKA?
Is your school ready to implement the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA)? Any public or private school that participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or the School Breakfast Program (SBP) must adhere to the new competitive food and beverage regulations of the USDA’s Interim Final Rule implementing the HHFKA. The competitive food and beverage portion of the USDA Interim Final Rule becomes effective on July 1, 2014.
Prior to the enactment of the HHFKA, the Secretary of Agriculture was limited to regulating only those competitive foods and beverages sold in the food service area of the school during meal periods. The HHFKA allows the Secretary of Agriculture to regulate the nutritional standards for ALL foods and beverages sold outside the school meal programs (i.e., NSLP & SBP), on the school campus, at any time during the school day. “School day” is defined as the period from the midnight before to 30 minutes after the end of the official school day.
The USDA’s rules are required to be consistent with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans but the Secretary of Agriculture was also free to consider other authoritative scientific recommendations for nutrition standards in implementing the Interim Final Rule. The rules provide specific limitations on sugar, fat and sodium content as well as caloric restrictions and other content restrictions. Nutrition directors and school nurses at the local school level are encouraged to become familiar with the Interim Final Rule and perform a review of the competitive foods and beverages that are available during the school day to determine their compliance with the new rule.
Does this only apply to food the school sells or to food anyone sells on the school campus? The rule applies to all competitive foods and beverages sold by any person or entity on the school campus during the school day. What about bake sales and other food fundraisers? The HHFKA and the Interim Final Rule provide a special exemption for foods and beverages that do not meet the requirements of the rule if they are sold for the purpose of conducting infrequent school-sponsored fundraisers. The key word here is “infrequent.” The Interim Final Rule leaves it up to state educational agencies to define “infrequent,” so look for an amendment to your state rules on this point. The law makes it clear that vending machines, school stores, snack bars and à la carte sales are not considered “infrequent fundraisers” and must adhere to the Interim Final Rule. Many schools have moved from candy or food fundraisers to gift wrap, t-shirts or other non-food items, which may be a wise decision under the new rule.
The HHFKA and the Interim Final Rule contain additional information and requirements. The purpose of this blog is to provide information. It is neither legal advice nor is it an advertisement for legal services. Please consult your legal counsel for legal advice regarding the HHFKA and the Interim Final Rule.