USDA announces new school snack food rules - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

USDA announces new school snack food rules

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WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- Kids all across the country will soon be saying goodbye to candy bars and donuts in school, and hello to granola bars and dried fruit.

Snack foods sold in schools are getting their first nutritional overhaul in more than 30 years. New federal rules, released Thursday, set limits for fat, salt and sugar in school snacks. This includes treats sold in vending machines.

Under the so-called "smart snacks in school" standards, snacks must be limited to 200 calories, while increasing protein, whole grains and nutrients.

When it comes to beverages, all schools may sell water or carbonated water; unflavored low-fat milk; flavored or unflavored fat-free milk and soy alternatives; 100% fruit or vegetable juice. Portion sizes of milk and juice vary by the age of students.

There are additional beverage options for high school students including lower or calorie-free beverages. But schools can't sell regular-calorie sports drinks.

The rules were required under the Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. It is meant to help curb childhood obesity in the U.S.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, schools and food and beverage companies must meet the new standards by July 1, 2014. That means the rules would be in effect for the 2014-2015 school year.

These interim final rules do not apply to food sold at after-school fundraisers, concession stands at sporting events and other after-school activities.
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