New proposed rules from the U.S. Department of Agriculture establish what school districts must do to ensure schools are serving meals that meet federal nutrition requirements. Schools that serve the right combination of grains, fruit, protein, and milk can get 6 cents more per meal in reimbursement from the USDA.
The additional reimbursement would be allowed only for meals served Oct. 1 and beyond.
School districts can submit menus and other documents to assure they are meeting the new nutritional requirements, but states must visit at least 25 percent of districts in person for verification as well.
It’s estimated that the additional money, criticized by some as insufficient to cover the cost of changing meals, will generate more than $1 billion for school districts.
Comments on the rule must be submitted by July 26.
A version of this article appeared in the May 09, 2012 edition of Education Week as USDA Meal Rules Aim to Improve Nutrition