USDA proposes new rules for school food


February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa kids wouldn’t be able to snack on corn chips and a Coke from their school vending machine under a new federal proposal. “Smart Snacks in School” would change the types of food sold in schools nationwide, according to Kevin Concannon, a former Iowan and the U-S-D-A’s Undersecretary for Food and Nutrition Services. Concannon says, “It makes sure that American kids that go to school for the snacks that they may purchase, whether they’re from vending machines or on counters during the school day, are healthier than they currently have available in many places.”

All foods sold in schools would have to meet certain guidelines, Concannon says, to make them more nutritious. Chips, candy and soda would be replaced with bagged fruits, vegetables and low-fat milk. “The snacks will have to have less sodium, less sugar,” Concannon says. “They’re more likely to have a granola bar than a typical sugar-doused candy bar.”

The proposals can be found on the Federal Register. Iowans have 60 days to comment on proposed changes and if they become policy, Iowa schools would have one year to comply. Concannon, who served as the director of the Iowa Department of Human Services from 2003 to 2008, says this change is for common sense and better health. “Let’s have more foods that we should encourage to children,” he says. “Let’s have fewer foods that we would like to discourage kids from consuming.” Snacks brought from home would still be allowed under the proposal, as well as items from school bake sales.

(Radio Iowa)