Kentucky has the strongest school food nutrition policy among the 50 states (and the District of Columbia), according to a year-end School Foods Report Card issued by the nutrition advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
CPSI grades states based on their school nutrition standards—focusing primarily on foods and beverages available outside the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). With regard to the school lunches available through the federal program, the report states, "the meals typically are balanced and contain recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals. Over the last ten years, efforts have led to reductions in the fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium content of school meals and to increases in the number of servings of fruits and vegetables in the meals."
The report details the variety of state polices for foods and beverages sold out-side the NSLP.
"These items compete with healthy school lunches and are not subject to the NSLP nutrition standards based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans," says a statement released by the School Nutrition Association (SNA). "SNA has long advocated for an expansion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's authority to set standards for these non-school meal foods and beverages, mostly by supporting the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act. This bipartisan legislation (S.2592/H.R. 5167) would address the patchwork of state nutrition standards and help establish nutritional integrity in schools."
In the report card, Kentucky's school food policies were given an A-. Nevada, Arkansas, New Mexico, Alabama, and California all received B+s. Seven states received Bs or B-s; 15, plus the District of Columbia, received Cs or Ds and 23 received Fs.