Massachusetts passes new school food rules

July 21, 2011

According to The Boston Globe, Massachusetts has passed new school nutrition standards that ban sugary sodas and sweet snacks. The rules, approved unanimously by the state Public Health Council, ban foods with artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and caffeine from schools' a la carte lines, vending machines, stores, events, and fundraisers. They also ban fried foods and limit the amount of fat, sodium, and sugar that can be in school foods.
In addition, the regulations require schools to offer unsweetened fruits and vegetables wherever food is sold (except for in vending machines), and provide water for free at all times. Breads must be made with whole grain, juices must be 100% fruit juice, and flavored milk cannot have more sugar than plain low-fat milk.

Most of the changes go into effect in the 2012–2013 school year. The Education Department will monitor school compliance. The ban on sugary drinks and the requirement that nutrition information be available for all non-prepackaged food take effect in the 2013–2014 school year.

Massachusetts is one of 29 states to establish guidelines on foods sold separately from standard school lunches. Officials say the Massachusetts regulations are among the toughest in the country. The state guidelines do not apply to lunch meals, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture is crafting guidelines to improve the nutrition standards of school lunches nationwide.

The Boston Globe article

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