The “Act Relative to School Nutrition,” signed into law on July 30, 2010, requires the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to establish standards for competitive foods and beverages sold or provided in public schools during the school day. The goal of the standards is to ensure that public schools offer students food and beverage choices that will enhance learning, contribute to their healthy growth and development, and cultivate life-long healthy eating behaviors.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health worked with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Harvard School of Public Health, the Boston Public Health Commission, the John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University and other key partners to develop the nutrition standards which are based primarily on the Institute of Medicine’s Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. The nutrition standards and the associated regulations go into effect on August 1, 2012 unless otherwise noted.

The regulations apply to competitive foods and beverages sold or provided to students 30 minutes before the beginning of the school day until 30 minutes after the school day ends. However, foods and beverages sold in vending machines must comply with the standards at all times.

Additional school nutrition food and beverage regulations listed in the bill include: making water available to all students during the day without charge, offering for sale fresh fruits and non-fried vegetables at any location where food is sold, except in non-refrigerated vending machines and vending machines offering only beverages, prohibiting the use of fryolators for competitive foods and, by August 1, 2013, making nutrition information available to students for non-prepackaged competitive foods and beverages served in the cafeteria.

To help school administrators, teachers, school nutrition staff, school nurses, parents, students, booster clubs, PTAs/PTOs and others implement the Massachusetts School Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages we created a comprehensive guidance document  Healthy Students, Healthy Schools: Guidance for Implementing Massachusetts 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 guidance document includes links to resources such as healthy fundraisers and classroom celebrations and features numerous examples from schools across Massachusetts that have already successfully created healthier environments for their students.

This information is provided by the Wellness Unit within the Department of Public Health.

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