The law follows the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which requires the USDA to establish nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools. The new plan comes on the heels of revised standards for school meals implemented in the fall, which greatly increased mandated servings of fruits and vegetables in meals.
The Smart Snacks proposal draws on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and existing voluntary standards already implemented by thousands of schools around the country, according to a USDA news release.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recent report evaluating state policies for food and beverages served outside the cafeteria. Thirty-nine states already have a state law regulating foods sold at schools. The USDA said its proposal would provide a minimum that all states must meet, though some states may have more stringent requirements.
Applauding the USDA’s proposal, Jessica Donze Black, director of the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, sponsored by Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a news release that the regulation is the first update in the rules in more than 30 years.