Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture rolled out the final requirements related to changes to the school meal pattern. The biggest change to the school meal pattern will require schools to limit portion sizes and calorie count based on age of the students being served. It also calls on schools to offer more fruits, vegetables and whole grain-rich foods, while cutting back on sodium and saturated fats in meals.
Along with the changes come an increase in the reimbursement rate – the first in 30 years – which is welcome news to schools. Under the new plan, schools will receive an additional six cents per lunch once the menus are certified effective October 1, 2012. The menu certification process has not been announced yet.
Click here to view the USDA’s document in its entirety. Important information, including a timeline for implementation, for schools can be found on pages 62.
A series of webinars will be posted by Feb. 10 on the CANS website to explain the new requirements as we know them to date. Two conference calls are scheduled to be held Feb. 21 and 23. Access information will be provided to authorized representatives and food service directors via email prior to the date. If additional calls are needed, they will be scheduled and announced. Additional workshops, conference calls, and classes will be scheduled and announced. Check the schedule for Child Nutrition Institute to find more information on classes there that will focus on the new meal pattern requirements.
Contact Sandra Kangas in the South Dakota Department of Education’s Child and Adult Nutrition Services office with questions.