Milling News

Grain Chain Applauds USDA Decision to Allow More Grains Back Into School Meals

Date Posted: December 19, 2012

Washington, DC—The grain industry applauds the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to suspend daily and weekly maximum quantities placed on grains, meats, and meat alternatives for the school year 2012-2013, saying the action is positive for both school foodservice operators and school communities, as schools will now have more flexibility to offer grain products to their students.

The Grain Chain, an industry collaboration representing grain producers, millers, bakers, and allied manufacturers, including the Grain Foods Foundation (GFF), Wheat Foods Council (WFC), American Bakers Association (ABA), USA Rice Federation, National Pasta Association (NPA), National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), U.S. Wheat Associates, and North American Millers Association (NAMA), commends the USDA for closely monitoring the situation, listening to concerns of the community, and taking positive action.

“Childhood nutrition is a topic we in the milling and baking industry care about deeply, so any regulation restricting schools from delivering full nutrition benefits is not the answer” says Christine Cochran, Executive Director of the Grain Foods Foundation.

“We commend the USDA for recognizing the need to allow schools greater opportunity to provide adequate nutrition to their students.”

"ABA is pleased USDA granted bakers additional flexibility in implementing the new grain standards for school meals.

"We applaud the organization for responding to the concerns of bakers who want to provide healthy, nutritious and wholesome products to our nation's children, said Robb MacKie, ABA President and CEO.

“We in the rice industry support USDA’s action to allow schools greater flexibility to use low cost, nutritious whole grain brown and enriched white rice to provide healthy school meals.

"Since rice combines well with vegetables, fruit and other healthy foods to make flavorful dishes students enjoy, school meal planners can now more easily meet new USDA requirements and also make sure students are getting a full measure of nutrition benefits,” said Betsy Ward, USA Rice President and CEO.

USDA’s new school meal nutrition rule’s support of more whole grains, fruits and vegetables is making very positive changes in meals served to 31 million children each day.

The new nutrition goals are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommended six 1-ounce servings of grain foods each day for adults, with at least three servings coming from whole grains.

Bread and grains provide many of the essential nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy and high-quality carbohydrates, such as grains, fuel both body and brain, which students need both for learning and physical activity.

The versatility of grains allows schools to offer their students a variety of meals options that provide sustenance and meaningful nutrition.

For more information, contact Christine Cochran,