NAMA To Host Conference Call On USDA Proposed Regulations For School Vending On March 12

NAMA, the national association for vending, micro market and office coffee service providers, has announced a conference call for its members on March 12 to discuss the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food's proposed rule for all foods sold in schools, including those in vending machines. The call will take place at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Details about the call will be sent from NAMA to its members prior to March 12.

Proposed rule

The Federal Register on Fe. 8, 2013 published the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS) request for comments on their upcoming rule related to Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in Schools. The USDA-FNS is seeking comments regarding the implementation of section 203 and 208 of Public Law 111-296, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA), which requires that the Secretary promulgate proposed regulations to establish nutrition standards for foods sold in schools other than those foods provided under the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (CAN) and the Richard B Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA).

The HHFKA specifies that nutrition standards apply to all foods sold (a) outside the school meal programs; (b) on the school campus; and (c) at any time during the school day. The proposed rule sets forth standards to be implemented on all school campuses and will limit the items that can be sold through vending machines. Official comments are due by April 8, 2013.

Link to regulation in the Federal Register.

The key provisions of the proposed rules are as follows:

Under the proposed rules, any food sold in schools must:

(1)   Be either a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, a protein food, a “whole-grain rich” grain product (50% or more whole grains by weight or have whole grains as the first ingredient) or a combination food that contains at least ½ cup of fruit or vegetable: or

(2)   Contain 10% of the Daily Value of a nutrient cited as a public health concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (calcium, potassium, vitamin D or fiber)

Additionally the food must meet a range of calorie and nutrient requirements:

  • ·         Total fat must be ≤ 35% of calories; saturated fat must be ≤10% of calories: and trans fat must be 0g as stated on the label. Exemptions are provided for reduced fat cheese; nut and nut butters without other ingredients and seafood with no added fat
  • ·         Snack items shall contain ≤200 milligrams of sodium
  • ·         For total sugar levels the proposal included two alternatives: one is ≤ 35% of calories and the other is ≤ 35% of weight. Exemptions are provided for fruits and vegetable packed in juice or extra light syrup and for certain yogurts. (The department is seeking comments on these two alternatives)
  • ·         Snack items have a limit on calorie of ≤200 calories per portion. Non NSLP/SBP entrée items have a calorie limit of ≤350 calories

The proposal also includes beverage requirements:

All schools may sell plain water, plain low fat milk, plain or flavored fat-free milk and milk alternatives permitted by NSLP/SBP and 100% fruit/vegetable juice. Elementary schools may sell up to 8 ounce portions. Middle and high schools may sell up to 12 ounce portions.

Additionally the proposal offers additional beverage options in high school.

  • ·         20 ounce servings or less for calorie free, flavored and or unflavored carbonated water and other calorie free beverages which are ≤ 5 cals/ serving
  • ·         12 ounce serving of other beverages within specific calorie limits. Two alternatives are offered, ≤40 cals/8 oz serving (or ≤60 cals/12 oz serving) and the second is 50 cals/8 oz serving (or 75 cals/12 oz serving) The department is seeking comments on these two alternatives.
  • ·         Such beverages shall not be available in the meal service area during the meal service periods.

These standards for food and beverages represent minimum standards that local educational agencies, school food authorities and schools will be required to meet. State agencies and/ or local schools would have discretion to establish their own standards for non-program foods should they wish to do so, as long as such standards are consistent with the final minimum standards.

The proposed rules apply to foods sold a la carte, in school stores, snack bars or vending machines.

In the proposed rules there is recognition that many products would not meet these standards under current product formulations and package sizes but could meet the standards with changes to the product packaging or product formulation. There is also recognition that for some products, such as those in which sugar is the primary ingredient, it is unlikely that they could be modified to allow the product to comply with the competitive food standards. Such products would include soft drinks that contain sugar, candy and confections, whole milk, jams, jellies, certain dessert items as well as fruit products that contain added sugars.

Snack foods such as chips and other bagged snack items would be the most impacted by the proposed sodium, calorie and fat standards as well as the requirement that the item contain 50 percent or more whole grains or have its first ingredient be whole grain.

Grain based dessert items such as cookies, snack bars, pastries and cakes would likely be most impacted by the proposed grain, sugar, fat and calorie standards.

Fruit snacks and fruit beverages that have added ingredients would be limited by sugar and calorie limits.

Dairy snack products would be impacted by proposed fat, sugar and sodium standards.

Beverages, other than milk, would be limited by calorie and caffeine standards.

NAMA is preparing comments and encourages members to also submit written comments. The proposed regulations specifically requests comments on the impact of the rule on the U.S. Food industry, including small businesses and on ways that these impacts can be minimized consistent with the purpose of the Child Nutrition Act.

To submit comments electronically from the proposed rule document choose "comment now".

Before officially submitting comments, NAMA urges members to email their comments to Sandy Larson at slarson@vending.org for review.

Comments can also be submitted by mail to: Julie Brewer, Chief, Policy and Program Development Branch, Child Nutrition Division, Food and Nutrition Service, P.O. Box 66874, Saint Louis, MO 63166.

For additional information contact Sandy Larson at slarson@vending.org.

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