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Federal "Smart Snacks" standards change rules for food-based fundraisers

snacksweb.pngBake sales and other school-based fundraisers will meet different standards starting during the 2014-15 school year, thanks to new federal nutrition standards implemented in July.

The new federal guidelines, commonly known as "smart snacks," set nutrition standards for all foods sold to students in competition with reimbursable meals on school campuses. That means that food sold through school stores, DECA and other student-based business clubs, vending machines, bake sales and other food-based fundraisers all fall under the new guidelines. Under these standards, "smart snacks" must be a whole grain product; have the primary ingredient of a fruit, vegetable, protein or dairy food; or contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of nutrients for calcium, potassium, vitamin D or dietary fiber.

The standards also spell out specific counts for calories, sodium levels, total fat, saturated and trans fat and sugar.

In addition to the federal nutrition standards, the Colorado Competitive Food policy establishes specific timeframes. The Colorado Competitive Food Policy specifies a time period when food in competition with the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs can be sold to students. Food sales outside the national programs cannot take place up to 30 minutes before or up to 30 minutes after breakfast and lunch periods.

Previous to the new federal guidelines, Cherry Creek Schools held a waiver to this policy, however after implementation of the federal guidelines, the district no longer qualifies for this waiver.

The Colorado guidelines have been in place for more than a decade, but the Cherry Creek School District only recently saw policy changes because of an existing waiver, according to Beth Wallace, Director of Food and Nutrition Services for the district.

"Cherry Creek has had the only exemption waiver to those Colorado standards in the state," Wallace said. "What triggered the waiver going away was the change in the federal standards."

 "For the most part, everyone is very understanding and gets what we're trying to do," Wallace said. "Where there could be some confusion is if they're doing a fundraiser at the end of the day. There are no standards at that point."

Staff and students interested in selling food at a school store may purchase goods through the district's Food and Nutrition Services department. The department will also accept food labels for items to be sold for review.

Posted 9/26/2014 9:08 AM

Important "Smart Snacks" guidelines

  • Despite the new rules, there is no limit to the number of food-based fundraisers that meet the "Smart Snacks" regulations.
  • Rules set by the Colorado Department of Education's Office of School Nutrition allow for three food-based fundraisers that are exempt from the regulations per year.
  • There is no limit to the number of fundraisers that are not food-based.
  • The new guidelines do not apply to food-based fundraisers held off school grounds or those that are conducted outside the regular school day.
  • The standards do not apply to foods brought to school by families for class parties or other gatherings. These regulations are specifically geared toward food that is sold on campus.
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