While some schools have already implemented higher nutrition standards for food and beverages sold in vending machines and a la carte food lines, the US Department of Agriculture has not updated their rules since 1979. New rulings will go into effect in September 2014, so some schools may see nutrition improvements in the future.
The USDA’s new standards are required by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act passed in 2010, and limit vending machine snacks or “competitive snacks” to 200 calories per item, and sodas and sports drinks sold in high schools to 60 calories or less in a 12-ounce serving. Elementary and middle schools can sell water, 100% fruit or vegetable juice and low-fat or fat-free milk.
For more information about snacks sold in schools, please see Snack Facts: Raising the Bar on Nutrition Standards in Schools.