USDA Banning All Junk Food In Schools On July 1


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Dear lovers of freedom,

Say goodbye to your Sour Warheads, your gummy bears, your Wonder Balls, your Big League Chew, and putting Bugles on the end of your fingertips – they're gone. Well, at least in your public school system.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is tightening the belt of school systems nationwide with their Smart Snacks in School rules which will take effect on July 1, 2014. In essence, all “junk food” in school vending machines, cafeterias, stores, even fundraisers and bake sales is off the table. Regulations on nutritional values like calories, fat, sodium, and sugar will also take effect. Schools that break the rules end up with big fines and the possibility of loss of federal funding. State agencies will do routine inspections.

According to the regulation’s flyer, drinks like water, milk, and 100 percent fruit and vegetable juice are allowed. If you’re in high school, you get the privilege of sipping your adolescent monkey lips on caffeine and low calorie carbonated soft drinks.

“I think that’s great!” said Betsy Hunsucker, a Brownsburg, Indiana mother who also stated the following either out of sheer irony or naiveté: “I think kids would love fruits and vegetables.”

“I’m afraid that parents have spoiled their children so much with the choices that they allow them to make at home that the kids will turn up their noses to the nutrition.”

Katie Shevren, the director of food services for Brownsburg Schools, has expressed her excitement about unveiling their master plan of putting a “garden bar” in all of their schools next year. Sadly, there will be no beer.

Some parents think the whole bureaucratic slapping of their greasy children’s hands in the cookie jar is a big no-no.

Vicki Masters, a mother, said: “They are in Plainfield and they have a lot of choice. They have things that they actually will eat so they do get food in them to go through their day. There are things they just won’t eat. They’d rather not eat than eat something they don’t like.”

The USDA pamphlet on the rules is 54 pages long, so here’s the gist:

Allowed Foods:

  1. Fruits
  2. Vegetables
  3. Dairy Products
  4. Protein-rich food (meat, beans, poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds)
  5. Whole-grain rich food (the first ingredient must be a whole grain or the item must be 50 per cent whole grains by weight)
  6. Combo foods that have at least ¼ cup fruit or vegetable.

Exception until July 1, 2016: If a food contains the minimum of 10% of the Daily Value of potassium, Vitamin D, calcium, or fiber – it is allowed.

Nutritional Standards:

  1. Calories
  • Max 200 calories for snacks and sides
  • Max 350 calories for entrees (outside the school lunch program)
  1. Sugar
  • Max 35% sugar by weight (some fruit exceptions)
  1. Sodium
  • Max 230mg for snacks (After July 1, 2016: 200mg)
  1. Fat
  • Fat: Max 35% calories from fat (as packaged or served with some exceptions regarding reduced fat cheese and nuts)
  • Saturated Fat: Max 10% calories from fat (as packaged or served with some exceptions regarding reduced fat cheese and nuts)
  • No Trans Fat.

Beverage Rules

a. Allowed Drinks: Water, carbonated water, unflavored low-fat milk, flavored or unflavored fat-free milk and soy alternatives, 100% fruit or vegetable juice.

Size limits:

Elementary schools: 8 oz.

Middle and high schools: 12 oz.

Caffeine only permitted in high schools

Want the video summary? Watch enthusiastic hands McGee here:

Bon appétit

Image via Wikimedia Commons