AASA, ASBO Respond to USDA Transitional Standards on Milk, Sodium and Whole Grains

 Permanent link   All Posts

AASA, ASBO Respond to USDA Transitional Standards on Milk, Sodium and Whole Grains

On March 23, AASA and ASBO International responded to the USDA’s Transitional Nutritional Standards for Milk, Sodium and Whole Grains which were announced on February 4. 

The transitional standards include:

  • Allowing local operators of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) to offer flavored, low-fat milk (1 percent fat) for students in grades K through 12 and for sale as a competitive beverage.
  • Beginning in SY 2022-2023, at least 80 percent of the weekly grains in the school lunch and breakfast menus must be whole grain-rich.
  • Establishes Sodium Target 1 as the sodium limit for school lunch and breakfast in SY2022-2023. For SY2023-2024, schools must meet Sodium Target 1A which requires a 10% reduction in sodium for school lunch only.

In our comments, we express support for the milk and sodium standards as they are reasonable and achievable. However, we do not support the 80% whole-grain requirement as some whole-grain products are not as appealing to students which leads to unnecessary food waste and reduced participation in the program. Additionally, given Congress’s failure to extend the COVID-19 waivers, we conveyed our concern that districts will not be able to meet any of the nutritional standards amidst the significant challenges they are facing due to the supply chain disruption and will not receive federal reimbursement as a result. We encouraged the USDA to use the full scope of its authority to ensure that school districts are not penalized for being unable to meet these nutritional standards and are able to continue to receive federal reimbursements for the meals they serve.

Read our full comments here