USDA solicits public input on food credits lunar_cat/iStock/Thinkstock

USDA solicits public input on food credits

Comments will be used to formulate future meal pattern requirements for school meals and other federal child nutrition programs.

The USDA is extending an invitation to the public to submit ideas on its food crediting system, a critical component of its meal reimbursement system. To claim federal reimbursement for food served through the USDA’s child nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program, operators must serve meals and snacks that meet each program’s specific meal pattern requirements, and the USDA’s crediting system defines how each food item fits into the meal pattern.

The USDA is especially interested in understanding both the possible benefits and any negative impacts associated with possible changes to how certain foods may or may not credit, Brandon Lipps, acting deputy under secretary of the USDA’s Food Nutrition and Consumer Services, said in the release announcing the public commentary invitation.

“This is an important issue,” he stressed. “How food is credited plays a critical role in what America’s children eat at school, in day care, and during the summer. Crediting decisions have an impact on schools and daycares, industry, and most importantly, our children, so we want to be as informed as possible.”

The call for public input comes on the heels of a recent move to loosen some requirements for reimbursable school meals in areas like flavored milk, whole grains and sodium limits.

The USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which together comprise America's nutrition safety net. For more information, visit fns.usda.gov.

Electronic comments are preferred and may be submitted at the Federal Register today through Feb. 12, 2018.

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