USDA Announces One Year Extension of Flexibility for Grains and Proteins
Posted: 02/27/2013

Good news! This allows us to continue serving whole sandwiches and pasta dishes on our salad bar which have been received with great enthusiasm. I am confident that they will become permanent. We are now doing a salad of the week at all schools to include whole grain pasta, quinoa, wheat bulgur, tuna fish, feta cheese and many more. This will also allow us to offer USDA shredded cheddar and mozzarella on the bars to supplement vegetarian protein.

~Bob Cliford, Director of CCSU Food Services

Today, USDA announced a one-year extension of the flexibility on meeting the weekly requirements for grains and meat/meat alternates through School Year 2013-2014. This extension applies to both breakfast and lunch and states that schools must only meet the weekly minimum through SY 2013-14. USDA stated that they received a strong amount of feedback showing that the flexibility for this school year better allowed SFAs to create healthy nutritious meals while maintaining the integrity of the objectives of the Meal Pattern Guidelines. USDA is open to the idea of a further extension in the future.
Making the flexibility permanent is the first point of the SNA 2013 Legislative Issue Paper. SNA is pleased to see the one-year extension, but the Association remains committed to achieving a permanent elimination of the weekly limits on Grains and Meat/Meat Alternates served in the National School Lunch Program. Weekly limits on the grains and proteins create significant menu planning challenges as school nutrition professionals cannot offer healthy options like daily sandwiches (too much grain), a small side of peanut butter with celery sticks or low or non-fat cheese and yogurt on the salad bar (too much protein).
The entire USDA Memo can be found by clicking here.