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USDA Offers Temporary Adjustment for School Lunch Program Limits on Meat and Grain

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

(American Meat Institute)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced additional flexibility to assess the compliance with the standards of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, citing the operational challenges relating to the limits placed on grains, meat and meat alternatives.  

Schools with multiple menu offerings, the limited availability of varying serving sizes from suppliers and the variation in maximum limits by age or grade level were all contributing factors to the challenges faced by many School Food Authorities (SFA) in meeting the new standards. As a result, schools were limiting popular menu items, such as hamburgers and chicken breast.

For the rest of the 2012-13 school year, schools will not have to limit the meat, meat alternatives or grains that they serve students.

However, the overall calorie limit on school lunches, 650 – 850 calories depending on age, and the daily and weekly minimum requirements for grains and meat/meat alternatives will remain.  

This temporary measure extends until the end of the 2012-2013 school year, at which time USDA will review feedback and data to determine whether other adjustments need to made moving forward.

The announcement is available here.

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