Statement attributable to Luis Guardia, President, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)
WASHINGTON, February 3, 2023 — FRAC commends the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for utilizing the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to develop proposed new improved nutrition standards for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. These proposed evidence-based standards will make for a healthier school day. FRAC led efforts to bring the voices of parents, children, and community leaders to the table during USDA’s information-gathering process and worked to ensure that racial equity was at the crux of our work. The new standards heed the call for a balanced, reasonable approach to improving the standards in a practical way.
Key highlights from the new proposed standards:
- introduces added sugar limits for school breakfast and lunch, starting with sugar limits for breakfast cereals and yogurt, and limits on grain-based desserts, and eventually phasing in a limit on the total amount of added sugar in all meals and snacks,
- requires at least 80 percent of the weekly grains in the school lunch and breakfast menus to be whole grain-rich, and
- phases in a reduction in sodium in school meals, aligning closer to the FDA voluntary standards of lowering sodium levels.
FRAC has long called for the protection and implementation of healthier nutrition standards for school meals that are based on nutrition science.nearly 30 million children who eat school lunches and 14 million who eat school breakfasts on an average school day. These meals fuel children’s health and learning by reducing hunger, decreasing childhood obesity, improving child nutrition, and enhancing child development and school readiness. FRAC looks forward to working with USDA as the agency implements these much-needed nutrition standards and encourages lawmakers to reach more children with nutritious school meals by making school meals free for all children, reinstating the approach used during the pandemic. Providing Healthy School Meals for All would help ensure that every child has the nutrition they need to grow and thrive.The new standards will be critical to the health and learning of the
The Food Research & Action Center improves the nutrition, health, and well-being of people struggling against poverty-related hunger in the United States through advocacy, partnerships, and by advancing bold and equitable policy solutions. To learn more, visit FRAC.org and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.