New USDA school meal rule brings back low-fat flavored milk and bread flexibility

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In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Department of Agriculture published the new School Meal Flexibility Rule that makes targeted changes to standards for meals provided under USDA’s National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

The interim final rule gives schools the option to serve low-fat (1 percent) flavored milk.  Currently, schools are permitted to serve low-fat and non-fat unflavored milk and only non-fat flavored milk.  The rule provides this milk flexibility to the Special Milk Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program operators serving children ages 6 and older.

States will be allowed to grant exemptions to schools experiencing hardship in obtaining whole grain-rich products acceptable to students during School Year 2018-2019.  The rule will grant more time to adjust sodium levels in meals, so instead of further restricting sodium levels for SY 2018-2019, schools that meet the current – Target 1 – limit will be considered compliant with USDA’s sodium requirements.

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