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West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District

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Food Services » USDA Final Rule

USDA Final Rule

As you have become aware, we have made changes to our school lunch program.  

Effective July 2012, the USDA, the office that governs the nutrition requirements for school food service programs, mandated 72 new “rules” that directly impact what we serve, the amount of each item we serve and how often we must serve these items.  While these changes continue to improve the nutrition for our children throughout the US – this is different than how we served our students in years past.

It is your food service team’s responsibility to ensure that the new nutritional requirements are in place.  It is very important that we continue to communicate these changes and the positive impact they have on our students. 

Our program will continue to exceed the guidelines set forth by the USDA.  The following chart outlines a quick comparison of the “Then and Now” for lunch.
A Short Explanation
Prior to 7/1/12 Required Changes Starting 7/1/12
Complete LUNCH Meal Students choose a minimum of three of the offered items:
  1. Entree (Usually both protein & grain)
  2. Grain (Usually with the "entree")
  3. Vegetable ("side item")
  4. Fruit ("side item")
  5. Milk
Students choose a minimum of three of the five offered items. One item MUST include a 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetable
  • Protein and bread portion sizes have a minimum and maximum (new) size requirement: A minimum of 1/2 of the bread and grain choices (buns, rolls, pizza crust, sandwich bread, rice, noodles, etc.) must be whole grain, and grain portions are smaller than before.
  • Every student MUST take a minimum of 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetable with their meal.
  • White milk may only be 1% or skim;
  • Chocolate milk (or any other flavored milk) can only be skim.
Each child must choose from three of the above items offered to have chosen a complete meal. Each child may NOW choose:
One of variety of entrees -
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Milk
Portion sizes have minimum requirements only At a minimum, each child MUST now choose at least 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetable and two other items that are offered each day.
Children can have as much of each as they want

Prior to these changes, our food service program has exceeded the nutritional requirements mandated by the USDA. The biggest changes this year :

  • The protein portion sizes MUST be reduced to a maximum of 2 ounces in Kindergarten through 8th grade and 2.4 ounces in high school
  • The fruit and vegetable offerings need to be featured in the serving lines instead of being the “final” choice of the meal.

There are additional changes that will be implemented throughout this year and the coming years. We will continue to send communications regarding these changes prior to implementing.