Fact Sheet: California’s Nutrition Standards
- Agron, Peggy
Nutrition standards regulate which “competitive” (also called “a la carte”) foods and beverages can be sold to students. Competitive foods are items (main entrees and side dishes), snacks, and beverages that students can buy apart from the school breakfast and lunch program. Competitive foods may be sold in the cafeteria, vending machines, snack bars, concession stands, and school stores, and include foods sold through fundraisers or provided to students for classroom parties. Competitive foods are often high in calories, fat, salt, and sugar. Students frequently choose these foods instead of the school breakfast or lunch, which are usually more balanced and lower in fat.
Nutrition standards are meant to ensure that students have access to healthier foods and beverages by limiting fat, sugar, and calories, and the types of products that can be offered in schools. Districts may set stricter standards than the law in their local school wellness policy.
This fact sheet from PHI’s California Project LEAN outlines the challenges and opportunites of the California Nutrition Standards. California’s nutrition standards—Senate Bills (SB) 12 and 965 (2005)—apply to the entire school day and one-half hour before and after school. Elementary school nutrition standards are stricter than those for middle/junior and high schools.