By Brian McCready
Milford Bureau Chief
Beginning next school year, students across the country may be in for a shock when they purchase their lunch in the cafeteria.
In an effort to fight childhood obesity and diabetes, the federal government is requiring students of all ages who buy school lunch to purchase at least one serving of fresh fruit or vegetable. Even if they toss the produce into the garbage.
Fresh fruit and vegetable portions will double next year. “Some students don’t take one now, but they will have to,” Eileen Faustich, Milford’s food services director, said Friday. “We can’t let a child go by the cashier without a fruit or vegetable on their tray.”
There’s more, a lot more, in the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act.
Next year, students can buy only nonfat flavored milk or 1 percent white milk. Half of the grains must be “whole” next year.
In 2013-14, all products must be whole grain. School cafeterias must offer green and orange leafy vegetables, and drastically reduce sodium use over the next three years. Trans-fats are banned.
If a student refuses to take the fruit or vegetable, the cafeteria employees will have to charge an a la carte fee, which typically is higher because the lunch will not be reimbursable under federal guidelines.
Read the full story here.
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