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School Nutrition Regulations Are Tardy

(January 18, 2012 - The Packer)—School meal nutrition regulations are tardy, and industry leaders say it is uncertain exactly when the U.S. Department of Agriculture will issue the final rule and what it will say.

“They originally expected to have it on the street by now, and now I’ve heard everything from another two weeks to the end of March,” John Keeling, executive vice president and chief executive officer for the Washington, D.C.-based National Potato Council, said Jan. 17.

The USDA’s proposed regulation to update nutrition standards for school meals was issued in January 2011. The proposal sought to double fruit servings for breakfast to one cup. The daily lunch requirement under the proposal grew from one-half cup of fruits and vegetables to three-fourths to one cup of vegetables and one-half to one cup of fruit. The January rule singled out “dark green and orange vegetables” for increases in school meals, but put limits on starchy vegetables.

In the 2012 agricultural appropriations bill, however, lawmakers told the USDA not to publish a final rule that sets maximum limits on the servings of any vegetable in the school meal program. In addition, Congress turned back USDA’s attempt to change a policy that allowed tomato paste on a slice of pizza to count as a serving of vegetables.

Read more on The Packer's website: http://www.thepacker.com/fruit-vegetable-news/foodservice/School-nutrition-final-rule-running-late-137604638.html

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