Arkansas Department of Education New Meal Patterns - The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010

Memo Information

Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Fiscal & Administrative Services
Regulatory Authority
Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Pub. L.111-296, HHFKA) amended Section 4(b) of the NSLA, 42 USC 1753(b)
Response Required
Elementary Principals; High School Principals; Middle School Principals; Secondary Principals; Superintendents; Child Nutrition Directors

Primary Contact Information

Memo Text

On January 26, 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), published in the Federal Register the Final Meal Pattern Regulations for Child Nutrition Programs.  This guidance addresses the final rule to update the school meals offered under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.    Over the next few months the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), Child Nutrition Unit (CNU) will provide training and technical assistance to School Food Authorities (SFA) through a variety of methods, including the CNU Distance Learning on Thursday, March 1, 2012, and at other special training sessions, and conference presentations.  The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is hosting three webinars presented by USDA on the New Meal Pattern on Wednesday, February 1, 2012, for school personnel participation. The webinar content will be the same for each session. The web site for SNA is   Click this link to see USDACurrent to New Meal Pattern Comparison Chart.   The main differences between the proposed and final rule are:  Phases-in changes to the breakfast program gradually over a three-year period  Does not require a meat/meat alternateatbreakfast daily  Does not restrict starchy vegetables, and establishes weekly minimums for all vegetable subgroups  Reduces the required weekly grains amounts at lunch  Allows students to take smaller portions of the fruits and vegetables components (at least ½ cup of either) under Offer versus Serve  Provides an additional year for the implementation of the second sodium target  Requires State agencies to assess compliance with the new meal requirements based on the review of one week of menus (instead of two weeks as proposed)  Allows schools to continue the current tomato paste crediting practice of crediting by whole food equivalency   The new lunch meal pattern is effective July 1, 2012, the beginning of SY 2012-2013.   With the exception of the new milk requirement, changes to the breakfast program will be phased-in beginning July 1, 2013, (SY 2013-2014). Click this link to see the USDAImplementation Chart on the CNU website.   See the USDAFinal Rule Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs by clicking this link.   The key changes to the meals for children in grades K-12 are:   National School Lunch Program (NSLP) A daily serving of fruits A daily serving of vegetables plus a weekly requirement for dark green, red/orange, beans/pea (legumes), starchy, and “other” vegetables Increased quantity of combined fruits and vegetables Weekly meat/meat alternate ranges plus a daily requirement In the first year of implementation, at least half of the grains offered during the school week must be whole grain-rich   School Breakfast Program (SBP) Meat/meat alternate may be offered after minimum grains requirement is met In the second year of rule implementation, at least half of the grains offered during the school week must be whole grain-rich In the third year of implementation, fruit quantity increase at breakfast Breakfast is included in administrative reviews   NSLP and SBP One food-based menu planning approach and same age/grade groups Fruits and vegetables are two separate food components Daily fruits requirement Under Offer versus Serve, student must select at least ½ cup of the fruits or the vegetables component as part of the reimbursable meal Weekly grains ranges plus daily minimum requirement On the third year of rule implementation, all grains offered during the school week must be whole grain-rich Fat-free (unflavored or flavored) and unflavored low-fat milk only Calorie minimum and maximum levels Intermediate (Target 1 and Target 2) and final sodium reductions Trans-fat limit Limit on saturated fat only (not on total fat) 3-year administrative review cycle   As further guidance is issued CNU will keep you informed.  Questions from local districts should be directed to CNU.  These questions will be gathered and sent to USDA if CNU is unable to answer the question.  Please call Suzanne Davidson, Assistant Director of Program Operation, ADE, CNU; the district’s Area Specialist; or Sheila Brown, Assistant Director for Healthy School Schools, ADE, CNU at 501-324-9502.


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