National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs
On January 26, 2012, USDA published new guidelines for foods that can be served in schools. The new regulations originally set maximums on the amount of grains that could be served during the week. In December 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released new guidance, which eliminates the weekly maximum for grains for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year. In May of 2013, NAMA and the Grain Chain sent a letter to USDA requesting permanent suspension on grain maximums. The Government Accounting Office (GAO) published a report in late June 2013, calling for modification to some of the new nutrition standards including a recommendation for permanent removal of grain maximums.
USDA Releases New “Competitive” Food Rules
USDA released its proposed rules on standards pertaining to the nutritional quality of “competitive” foods and beverages sold on school campuses. Competitive food and beverages are those offered in competition with the federally subsidized school meal, and are sold through vending machines, school stores, a la carte lunch lines, and snack bars. The proposal would not apply to in-school fundraisers or bake sales, though states already have the power to regulate them. The new rules also would not apply to after-school concessions.
U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans
On June 13 -14, 2013, members of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee held their first of several public meetings to present detailed insights regarding the 2015 Dietary Guidelines process. NAMA participated in the two-day meeting and will continue to protect current “six serving per day” recommendations and ensure nutrition policy based on sound science including whole and enriched grains. The second meeting of the DGAC scheduled for October 3 – 4, was postponed due to the government shutdown and will be rescheduled in the near future.
FDA published a final rule that defines the characteristics a food has to have to bear a label that proclaims it “gluten-free.” The rule also holds foods labeled “without gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “no gluten” to the same standard. The threshold for use of the claim is less that 20ppm. The final rule, as did the proposed rule, keeps oats off the list of “prohibited grains,” referred to in the final rule as “gluten-containing grains” as suggested in NAMA’s earlier comments. The compliance date for the final rule is August 5, 2014.
Prepared by Sherri Lehman, Director of Government Relations, 202.484.2200, ext. 13, [email protected]
Last update October 21, 2013