USDA Food and Nutrition Service seeking federal comments for revisions to child nutrition programs

Written by: Hunter Nelson
Date Posted: February 24, 2023

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is seeking public comments on their proposed rule, FNS-2022-0043: Child Nutrition Programs: Revisions to Meal Patterns Consistent with the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This rule seeks to align school meal standards with the FNS Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 (DGA) by establishing quantitative limits and weekly dietary limits for breakfasts and lunches provided to students nationwide.  

Food insecurity continues to be too common in Colorado. The share of Colorado households with kids where children were not eating enough because food was unaffordable ranged from 18% in June 2020 to a high of 37% between Dec. 2021 and Jan. 2022, according to our 2022 KIDS COUNT report. Upcoming reductions to Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will likely increase food insecurity for many families. For children living in households experiencing food insecurity, meals at school may be the only or one of the only sources of nutrition. It is critical that school meal nutrition standards ensure that kids receive meals that allow them to thrive physically, mentally, and emotionally.  

The proposed rule revises the school meal standards to align with the DGA recommendation that added sugars make up no more than 10% of a child’s daily caloric intake. Excessive added sugars consumption has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and dental caries. The rule would also impose gradual sodium reduction limits for school meals, as high sodium consumption has been correlated to high blood pressure and hypertension. In addition, it proposes alternative requirements for the milk and whole grain standards, flexibilities for tribal-operated schools, cultural competency in school meal standards, and more equitable hiring practices for state child nutrition agencies.  

The Children’s Campaign enthusiastically supports this proposed rule and submitted comments in support to the Federal Register, which you can read on our website. Submit your own comments on the Federal Register’s proposed rule submission page by April 10. 

Hunter Nelson

About Hunter Nelson

Hunter works as a Policy Analyst at the Colorado Children’s Campaign. In this role, she supports the Children Campaign’s Vice President of Health Initiatives and other policy staff by assisting in the management of coalitions, maintaining relationships with key stakeholders, conducting relevant data collection and analysis, and coordinating policy advocacy strategies with other Children’s Campaign staff. Before coming to the Children’s Campaign, Hunter served as the Volunteer and Data Specialist for Child Advocates – Denver CASA, interned with the Bell Policy Center, and worked as a research assistant at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work. She has also worked with multiple organizations serving individuals and families experiencing homelessness across Metro Denver. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from Arizona State University and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Denver.