THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Office of P-20 Education Policy
On May 1, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide greater flexibility to the federal meal pattern requirements for the purpose of making food choices both healthful and appealing to school age children. The Secretary signed a formal proclamation that allows increased local decision and control regarding whole grains, sodium and milk.
For the 2017-2018 school year, USDA has authorized the New York State Education Department (SED) to continue to grant exemptions to schools experiencing hardship in serving 100 percent whole grain-rich products. USDA has also been directed to implement a regulatory process to provide school food authorities (SFAs) with additional options in regard to serving only 100 percent whole grain-rich products.
For school years 2017-2018 through June 2020, SFAs will not be required to meet the Sodium Target 2 requirements. SFAs demonstrating that their menus are meeting the established Sodium Target 1 requirements will be considered compliant.
USDA has been directed to begin the regulatory process to allow SFAs to offer one percent flavored milk. USDA will publish an interim rule in the near future to effect the change in the current milk policy. SFAs should continue to follow the existing guidelines pertaining to the milk varieties allowed in the school meals programs.
SED will continue to provide routine updates, training and on-going guidance to assist SFAs to have a full understanding of all available flexibilities in the nutrition requirements for school meals for the 2017-2018 school year.