Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements
This interim final rule extends through school year 2018-2019 three menu planning flexibilities currently available to many Child Nutrition Program operators, giving them near-term certainty about Program requirements and more local control to serve nutritious and appealing meals to millions of children nationwide. These flexibilities include: Providing operators the option to offer flavored, low-fat (1 percent fat) milk in the Child Nutrition Programs; extending the State agencies' option to allow individual school food authorities to include grains that are not whole grain-rich in the weekly menu offered under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP); and retaining Sodium Target 1 in the NSLP and SBP. This interim final rule addresses significant challenges faced by local operators regarding milk, whole grains and sodium requirements and their impact on food development and reformulation, menu planning, and school food service procurement and contract decisions. The comments from the public on the long-term availability of these three flexibilities will help inform the development of a final rule, which is expected to be published in fall 2018 and implemented in school year 2019-2020.