USDA recently announced new school meal standards for child nutrition programs. The final rule seeks to align child nutrition meal patters with the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The announcement reinforces the importance of federal nutrition assistance programs, and milk and dairy foods, in supporting children’s health.

Key takeaways:

  • Flavored milk: The final rule continues to allow low-fat and fat-free flavored milk at all grade levels.
  • Added sugars: As anticipated, USDA added new limits on added sugars:
  • Lactose-free milk: The rule re-emphasizes lactose-free milk as an equitable option that promotes childhood health through school meal programs.

Through the National Dairy Council, your dairy checkoff program participated in the public process that USDA led from proposed rule to final rule and will continue to engage in education and outreach to share the science-based benefits of culturally appropriate dairy foods as part of health school meal programs.