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PA Board Of Ed. Approves School Nutrition Rules

Posted On: 5/13/2010

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HARRISBURG, PA -- Pennsylvania's State Board of Education has approved proposed student nutrition and physical activity regulations that set baseline nutritional standards for foods provided outside reimbursable school meal programs, including items dispensed from school vending machines and sold through fundraisers. The regulations also require 30 minutes of daily physical activity for every student.

The rules will likely be further modified and are expected to go into effect within the next six to nine months.

In 2009, the board identified nutrition and physical activity as policy priorities and formed a standing committee to examine best practices nationally and develop a state-level response. More than 150 stakeholders participated in a series of five public roundtables aimed at gathering input on the regulation.

Under the rules, schools can serve only 100% juice in portions no larger than10 fl.oz. Drinks containing 100% juice that are carbonated or diluted with water are also allowed, provided they have no added flavorings or sweeteners.

Schools can offer only 1% milk or skim milk with no artificial sweeteners, including chocolate, strawberry and vanilla-flavored milk. In elementary and middle schools, the package can contain no more than 8 fl.oz. and 170 calories or less; in high schools, the maximum package size allowed is 10 fl.oz.

High schools can also offer other beverages containing fewer than 67 calories per 8 fl.oz. Caffeinated beverages are banned in all schools.

Additionally, foods with more than 35% of their total calories from sugar cannot be sold or served, with the exception of yogurt, fruits and vegetables. All foods must contain less than 35% of calories from fat and less than 10% from saturated fats, and no more than 0.5g. of trans fat. Nuts, seeds and cheeses are exempt. A sodium cap of 230mg. per portion applies to all food and beverages sold in Pennsylvania schools.

The regulations also require that one or more whole grain item and fruits and vegetables – dried, frozen, canned or fresh -- must be offered daily at all points of purchase. Schools are encouraged to include refrigerated vending to accommodate fruits, vegetables, yogurts and other perishable items.

Go here to view the rules.