Media Contact:

Jordan Baker                                                                       jbaker@frac.org202-640-1118

Statement attributable to Kelly Horton, Interim President, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2024 — FRAC commends the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for utilizing the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to develop final and improved nutrition standards for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. These evidence-based standards will make for a healthier school day for millions of children.

The new standards introduce added sugar limits for school breakfast and lunch, starting with sugar limits for breakfast cereals, yogurt, and flavored milk, and eventually phasing in a limit on the total amount of added sugar in all meals. The rule continues to allow for flavored milk in all grade levels.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans found that children are consuming too many added sugars. To limit added sugars in a practical way, USDA is proposing a phased approach. First, the rule limits added sugars in certain products beginning in 2025, targeting the most common sources of added sugars in school meals: breakfast cereals, flavored milks, and yogurt. Then, in 2027, the rule restricts overall added sugars across the weekly menu to less than 10 percent of total calories, on average, to better align meals with the dietary guidelines.

USDA expects that implementing product-based limits first will help schools prepare to meet the proposed weekly limit two years later.

FRAC led efforts to bring the voices of anti-hunger leaders and school nutrition stakeholders to the table during USDA’s information-gathering process and worked to ensure that racial equity was at the crux of our work, as strong nutrition standards are critical to racial equity. The new standards set a balanced, reasonable approach to improving nutrition standards in a practical way.

The new standards will be critical to supporting the health and learning of the tens of millions of children who rely on school breakfast and lunch to meet their nutritional needs. The School Nutrition Programs are vital tools for combating childhood hunger, improving children’s health, and supporting academic achievement. Extensive research has linked participation in school meals to several benefits, including improving academic achievement, reducing food insecurity, reducing poor health outcomes and obesity rates, and improving student behavior.

FRAC applauds USDA for its ongoing commitment to supporting child nutrition programs and looks forward to working with state and school nutrition partners as they implement them.


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 and follow us on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, and Instagram.