banner image of school nutrition regulations

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.

Read the Revised Guidance for Implementing the MA School Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages pdf format of Healthy Students, Healthy Schools
file size 1MB doc format of                             Healthy Students, Healthy Schools                .

The Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Community Health and Prevention presented to Public Health Council this week on proposed revisions to 105 CMR 225, the Massachusetts Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages in Public Schools. The proposed revisions bring Massachusetts into alignment with federal standards in several cases. Recognizing that the new Massachusetts regulations are not in effect by the July 1, 2014 federal deadline, DPH is issuing guidance to school districts to address any conflicting requirements between federal and state regulations.  The guidance memo can be accessed here:

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.

This information is provided by the Department of Public Health.