June 26, 2013

Alliance Statement on the USDA’s New Nutrition Standards for “Smart Snacks” in School

Finally, the days of ‘anything goes’ when it comes to snacks in schools are ending. Two thumbs up to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for issuing the interim final rule on national nutrition standards for ‘smart snacks’ in school. Now when we teach kids about good nutrition in the classroom, our lessons will no longer be contradicted by easy access to vending machines peddling candy and empty calorie beverages in the hallways. Getting the rule issued, however, is just the first step. Helping all of our nation’s schools comply with the rule will be an enormous challenge. We at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation look forward to working closely with our partners at the USDA, state and local education and health agencies, food and beverage companies, and other non-governmental organizations to help schools implement the rule and provide students a healthy school nutrition environment.

Schools are an ideal place to model healthy eating habits and consistency in school nutrition guidelines is important. Items offered in vending machines, school stores, snack bars, and a la carte lines are where many children get calories throughout the school day. The nutritional criteria for these products ought to mirror the nutritional criteria already in place for school meals. The Alliance has been a leader in creating access to healthier food and beverages in schools since 2006, when we developed nutrition criteria for schools and brokered two landmark industry agreements related to beverages and snack foods sold in schools. The proactive approach of food and beverage companies to offer products that meet our stringent nutrition guidelines has helped us support thousands of schools in their efforts to serve healthier snacks and drinks. We welcome the opportunity to help schools across the country implement the smart snack rule on their campuses. We have hundreds of user-friendly tools and real life success stories to help schools and companies embrace stricter nutrition standards and promote healthy eating in all corners of the school building.

Dr. Howell Wechsler

Chief Executive Officer

Alliance for a Healthier Generation