School Nutrition Standards Implementation Successes

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5.20.2014 Current Congressional efforts to weaken school nutrition standards from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act would significantly undermine the successes that schools have had in improving the quality of school meals. 

It is critical that advocates continue to oppose efforts to weaken school food standards through the appropriations process. USDA released a fact sheet documenting many of the successes schools have had in implementing the improved nutrition standards in school meals programs. link

Some of the positive results of the Healthy-Hunger Free Kids Act school meals provision include:

  • Kids are eating more fruits and vegetables as a result of updated nutrition standards
  • Over 90% of schools report that they are successfully meeting the updated standards, including providing more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy, and less sugar, fat, and sodium.
  • Contrary to popular media reports, school lunch revenue is up. Nationwide, schools saw a net increase in revenue from school lunches of approximately $200 million.
  • Healthy food standards have not increased food waste. While plate waste is always concerning, the amount of waste has not increased since before the meal pattern changes.
  • Participation is increasing substantially in many areas of the country. California's largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, has seen a 14% increase in participation under the new meal standards.
  • The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) under the HHFKA has led to participation increases and revenue gains within thousands of schools. California schools will be able to participate in CEP for the 2014-15 school year.
  • Virtually all schools continue to offer the federal school meal programs. Despite media reports of schools dropping out of as a result of HHFKA, 99.85% of schools continue to participate in the programs.
  • Smarter Lunchrooms grants from USDA are helping schools encourage kids to choose new healthier options.  Smarter Lunchrooms is broad toolkit of easy-to-implement, low-cost, evidence-based strategies that increase consumption of healthier foods and decrease plate waste. CFPA has led efforts to expand the support for Smarter Lunchrooms within California.  link 

Questions? Contact Tracey Patterson at 510.433.1122 ext. 101.