Legislation Would Update Nutrition Standards for “Other” Food Sold at School

March 25, 2009

by Jean Saunders, HSC School Wellness Director

On March 5, U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)  introduced the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act of 2009.  This bill would “amend the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to improve the nutrition and health of schoolchildren and protect the Federal investment in the national school lunch and breakfast programs by updating the national school nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold outside of school meals to conform to current nutrition science.”

We applaud Representative Woolsey  and the 101 co-sponsors of this bill.

This legislation would improve the minimum nutrition standard for food sold outside of school meals — including food sold in vending machines, school stores, cafeteria a la carte lines, and other spots throughout the school.

Current federal standards have been in place since the 1970s to protect the integrity of the school lunch program and the health of all children in all states. It is, most simply put, time to update these standards to reflect the realities of today’s health concerns and the changing marketplace. (Click here [pdf] to learn more about the current standards and why they need to be updated.)

Many states, including Illinois, have adopted nutrition standards for food sold in schools (in addition to current federal standards). In many cases, however, these state standards are not comprehensive. In Illinois, for example, the standards apply only to kindergarten through eighth grade, not to high schools. And of course, the standards themselves vary from state to state.

We encourage you to contact your U.S. Representative to voice your support for this legislation.