Child Nutrition Services » Texas Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Regulations

Texas Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Regulations

As a participant in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program, West Orange-Cove CISD is required to follow TDA Food and Nutrition Standards. To learn more about these programs, nutritional requirements for participation, and more, visit Square Meals(opens external link in new window).

Food Fundraisers "Smart Snacks" Regulations


What Are “Competitive Foods”?

“Competitive Foods” refers to all food and beverages SOLD to students on school campus during the school day, other than meals reimbursable under government programs. Effective July 1, 2014, The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a memorandum to inform State agencies and School Food Authorities (SFAs) that USDA no longer provide waivers once these rules went into effect.


Snack Smart, Snack Healthy (THE RULE)

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act required the USDA to establish nutrition standards all foods and beverages sold to students outside of the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program meals on the school campus during the school day. USDA’s interim final rule “Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in School,” was effective July 1, 2014. These science-based nutrition standards promote a healthy school environment and apply to all foods sold, such as:

  • A La Carte Cafeteria Sales
  • School Stores
  • Snack Bars
  • Vending Machines
  • Fundraisers

More on Fundraisers in Texas Schools

TDA analyzed the potential impacts of USDA’s Competitive Rule requirements in light of Texas Laws and the Texas Public School Nutrition Policy. Schools may have unlimited fundraisers as long as the fundraisers adhere to the federal Competitive Rule (i.e. Smart Snacks) requirements. Food items that do not meet the Competitive Rule requirements must be sold outside of the school day. The following are additional examples of allowable fundraisers that may occur during the school day:

  • Any Non-Food Items
  • Any food items not meant for consumption on the school camps during the school day (e.g. cookie dough to be prepared at home).
  • Any food item sold after the end of the school day (e.g. 30 minutes after the end of instruction on campus). Food items sold in concession stands after the end of the school day (e.g. 30 minutes after the end of instruction on campus). Any food items that meet the federal Competitive Rule requirements.


These rules DO NOT apply to food given to students for free or brought by the student for their own consumption.

Fundraiser FAQ


School Campus
This means all areas of property under jurisdiction of the school that are ACCESSIBLE to students during the school day.


When do the standards apply?

School Day
Defined as the period from the midnight before to 30 minutes after the end of the OFFICIAL school day. There are no current restrictions on sales during after school programs occurring 30 minutes after school day ends.

What about school "Party Days"?

Schools may still have Party Days, however there are some stipulations:
  1. ALL foods SOLD to students are subject to Smart Snack standards. These standards also apply to food items which are not provided by the scenarios outlined below: For example, if students are required to bring money for a pizza party, the pizza served would have to meet the Smart Snack nutrition standards. The Smart Snack standards also apply to fundraisers in which the item sold is consumable, such as candy bars. If the item is being SOLD during the school day and is likely to be consumed during the school day, it must meet the Smart Snack standards.
  2. The exception is for foods that are provided to students free of charge (without exchange of money/tokens/tickets/etc.) Smart Snacks only regulates foods which are SOLD, not given away. Foods that are brought to school by parents or students do not have to meet the Smart Snacks requirements. Parents may still bring treats for celebrations, however at West Orange-Cove CISD we request that they take into consideration students with allergies or special dietary needs.
Please refer to the USDA Smart Snacks Flier for more information.
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.