USDA announces new nutrition standards for schools

By WEEK Producer

MGN online

June 27, 2013 Updated Jun 27, 2013 at 11:58 AM CDT

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Goodbye chocolate chip cookies, hello fruit cups.

School snacks are getting a boost in nutrition from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

On Thursday, the USDA announced new nutrition standards for school vending machines and snacks offered in a la carte lunch lines.

Full-fat cookies and brownies will be replaced with light popcorn, fruit and whole grain granola bars. Sugary sports drinks will be phased out to make way for more water and skim milk products.

The new rules will go into effect a year from now. Experts say this addresses both a childhood obesity and hunger problem in the U.S.

"Today 17 million children in the country live in food insecure homes, which means at some point in time in that month, they're likely not going to get all the nutrition they need but at school, we'll be able to support them, we'll be able to supplement what happens at home, and we'll be able to send, I think, a strong message about nutrition and the importance of making every calorie count,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

The new rules will not impact bake sales, treats for school parties, after-school snacks or concessions sold at sporting events.

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