Dairy Industry Contributes to USDA’s Updated School Meal Standards

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced new steps to strengthen child nutrition through new school meal standards. Nutrition standards for school meals will gradually be updated to include less sugar and flexibility with menu planning between Fall 2025 and Fall 2027. He talks about the need for updated standards.

“First of all, I think it’s important to underscore that school meals matter. They matter to the students who consume them. In some cases, in many cases, and in far too many cases, it often is the only meal or meals that youngsters may get during the days. It matters to them and their families. We know from prior experience with the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010 that a commitment to nutrition pays off, that kids get better meals, more fruits and vegetables are consumed, and we saw, pre-pandemic, a reduction in obesity.”

He mentioned the U.S. dairy industry is one of their agency’s partners in updating school nutrition rules.

“We also recognize the important role that industry plays, specifically when they can participate to reformulate foods to meet the new standards. A good example is the dairy industry’s work on reduced sugar in flavored milk.”

Among the more notable changes, added sugars will be limited in school meals around the nation. Schools can continue to offer flavored and unflavored milk. Schools also need to slightly reduce the sodium content in their meals by Fall 2027.