USDA allows greater flexibility in meeting school meal requirements 

Schools now have more flexibility in meeting US Dept. of Agriculture nutrition standards due to changes made earlier this year and in time for the 2017-18 school year.

The USDA will allow states to grant exemptions to schools experiencing hardship in serving 100 percent of grain products as whole grain-rich for the 2017-18 school year. Schools also no longer will have to meet Sodium Target 2 for the school years 2017-2018 through 2020. Sodium Target 1 will stay in place. Finally, schools will be able to serve 1 percent flavored milk through the school meals programs.

“This announcement is the result of years of feedback from students, schools and food service experts about the challenges they are facing in meeting the final regulations for school meals,” said Secretary of Agriculture George E. (Sonny) Perdue when the change was announced in May. “If kids aren’t eating the food, and it’s ending up in the trash, they aren’t getting any nutrition, thus undermining the intent of the program.”