The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) released a statement supporting USDA’s recently proposed rule on school food options. The rule stresses lower-fat dairy options as part of its “Smart Snacks in Schools” list, and draws on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, existing standards and healthy food and beverage options already available in the marketplace. The new rule impacts dairy categories in different ways:
- Unflavored and flavored low-fat and fat-free milk will be sold in all schools.
- The rule proposes increased levels of up to 30 grams of total sugars per eight ounces of yogurt, allowing more non-fat and low-fat options to meet the criteria.
- Reduced-fat cheeses will be exempt from overall fat limits, but it’s not clear if “part skim” cheeses will qualify.
- Sugar limits relating to ice cream and frozen desserts were proposed two ways for the comment period. A “35 percent sugar by weight” measurement would allow sales of many desserts specially formulated for schools to continue. However, a “35 percent sugar by calories” requirement would mean very few desserts would qualify.
- Treatment of entrees containing dairy would vary depending on whether they were served as part of a school meal. Those not served as a school meal would need to meet new fat, sugar and sodium requirements.