USDA Publishes Proposed Rule Maintaining School Meal Flexibilities

Amanda Aldred, RD, SNS | Manager, School Nutrition| View Author Bio

In May 2017 USDA announced flexibilities for the school meal programs that would allow 1% flavored milk to once again be served in schools, along with changes to the whole grain and sodium requirements. Since 2012 schools had only been allowed to serve fat-free flavored milk. Nationwide data provided by Prime Consulting has shown an increase in school milk consumption of 1.3 million gallons since 1% flavored milk was once again allowed in schools.

On April 13, 2020 these flexibilities were invalidated by court decision related to a procedural error and once again schools were limited to serving only fat-free chocolate milk. However, on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 USDA posted a proposed rule for the Restoration of Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Flexibilities in the Federal Register for public comment.  This proposed rule would once again allow schools to serve 1% flavored milk with school meals. This link contains the new proposed rule, the history of these flexibilities, and the link to submit a formal comment (green button in the upper right hand corner of the page). USDA is accepting public comment on the proposed rule until December 28, 2020.

National Dairy Council will be submitting public comment, which we will share once it becomes available.  Please note that, by law, New England Dairy and National Dairy Council cannot take a position on legislation or public policy, but we are able to inform decision makers by providing science-based education on the health benefits of milk, including flavored milk, in children’s diets.

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