United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the new USDA's "Smart Snacks in School" nutrition standards, first proposed in February, aim to provide America's students with healthier food options during the school day.
"Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children," said Secretary Vilsack, in a prepared statement. "Parents and schools work hard to give our youngsters the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong, and providing healthy options throughout school cafeterias, vending machines, and snack bars will support their great efforts."
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 required the USDA to establish nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools -- beyond the federally-supported meals programs – which included food sold in vending machines. The "Smart Snacks in School" nutrition standards, to be published this week in the Federal Register, are reported to reflect the USDA's thoughtful consideration and response to the nearly 250,000 comments received on the proposal earlier this year.
"Smart Snacks in School" carefully balances science-based nutrition guidelines with practical and flexible solutions to promote healthier eating on campus, drawing on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and existing voluntary standards already implemented by thousands of schools around the country, as well as healthy food and beverage offerings already available in the marketplace, according to the USDA press release.