Friday, April 15, 2011

FDA releases guidance on water and milk in schools

Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released their guidance documents on water availability during School Lunch Meal Service and nutrition guidelines for milk served at schools. Part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act passed by Congress included requirements relating to milk and water and this is the FDA's recommendation to schools on implimentating that. 

Below is a summary of both of those recommendations.

Water availability in school:

• Free water must be made readily available to children during lunch.

• Schools are given flexibility in how to implement this change. The memo reads: “For example, schools can offer water pitchers and cups on lunch tables, a water fountain, or a faucet that allows students to fill their own bottles or cups with drinking water.”

• Water is not considered part of the reimbursable meal. However, reasonable costs from providing water will be considered an allowable cost to the nonprofit food service account.

Nutrition Requirements for Fluid Milk

• Schools should offer children at least two choices of fluid milk that are either fat-free or low-fat (1 percent).

• Schools may continue to offer plain or flavored milk as long as they are fat-free or low-fat until the new proposed school meals rule goes into effect.

Even though local school districts have until the start of next school year (SY 2011-2012) to comply with the requirements, they are encouraging school officials and food service directors to start making these changes now. Implementing these changes quickly is key to making the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act a success.

How can you as an advocate support your school in this process?
• Workwith school wellness councils to raise awareness of these new requirements and the timetable for making changes

• Collaborate with community stakeholders and the media to build awareness and excitement about these nutritional improvements

• Supporteducation and dialogue for school staff, students, and parents promoting the acceptance and understanding of the health benefits of lower-fat milk and the availability of water

• Connectschools with best practice information on education materials, curriculum, and advice on lessons learned from the implementation of similar requirements

For updates on legislation in Oklahoma dealing with child nutrition please visit and become an adovcate today!



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