The MA Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, developed nutrition standards for certain foods and drinks sold or provided during the school day.
The nutrition standards apply to competitive foods and beverages sold or made available in public schools 30 minutes before the beginning of the school day until 30 minutes after the school day ends. The standards apply to foods and beverages sold or provided in:
- School cafeterias offered as à la carte items
- Vending machines (must comply at all times)
- School stores and snack bars
The standards do not apply to foods and beverages sold as part of a federal nutrition program such as the School Breakfast Program, School Lunch Program, or the Child and Adult Care Food Program (all of which follow USDA national guidelines). The standards also do not apply to foods or beverages sold or provided at booster sales, concession stands, and other school-sponsored or school-related fundraisers and events.
The Department of Public Health created a comprehensive guidance document to help school administrators, teachers, school nutrition service staff, school nurses, parents, students, booster clubs, PTAs/PTOs and others implement the Massachusetts School Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages.
The guidance document includes links to resources and features numerous examples from schools across Massachusetts that have already successfully created healthier environments for their students.
The guidance document also features a customizable Sample Letter to Parents that explains what these new policies mean and why they’re being implemented, along with an "At A Glance" guide that sets out the new nutrition standards in an easy-to-read format. These documents are also available in Spanish and Portuguese for school administrators to communicate with parents in those languages.
- Massachusetts Competitive Foods and Beverages
- Sample Parent Letter - English
- Sample Parent Letter - Portuguese
- Sample Parent Letter - Spanish
This information is provided by the Department of Public Health.