First Focus on Children submitted the following comment in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) “Child Nutrition Programs: Transitional Standards for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium” final rule (87 FR 6984), which will provide necessary flexibility to schools for SY 2022-2023 and SY 2023-2024 as they respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Excerpt from the comment

This final rule provides immediate relief to schools as they return to traditional school meal service following extended use of COVID-19 meal pattern flexibilities, which are set to expire in the summer of 2022. This rule will allow schools and child care providers to offer flavored, low-fat milk (1%) in addition to unflavored, lowfat milk and flavored or unflavored nonfat milk. This final rule also requires at least 80 percent of the weekly grains in the school lunch and breakfast menus to be whole grain-rich and will modify the proposed sodium standards and establish Sodium Target 1 as the sodium limit for school lunch and breakfast in SY 2022-2023 as proposed, but implement a Sodium Interim Target 1A effective for school lunch beginning in SY 2023- 2024.

Read the full comment here.