42 U.S.C. § 1758 - Program requirements

Cite as:42 U.S.C. § 1758
Currency:Current through P.L. 115-122
 
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(a) Nutritional requirements

(1)

(A) Lunches served by schools participating in the school lunch program under this chapter shall meet minimum nutritional requirements prescribed by the Secretary on the basis of tested nutritional research, except that the minimum nutritional requirements-

(i) shall not be construed to prohibit the substitution of foods to accommodate the medical or other special dietary needs of individual students; and

(ii) shall, at a minimum, be based on the weekly average of the nutrient content of school lunches.

(B) The Secretary shall provide technical assistance and training, including technical assistance and training in the preparation of lower-fat versions of foods commonly used in the school lunch program under this chapter, to schools participating in the school lunch program to assist the schools in complying with the nutritional requirements prescribed by the Secretary pursuant to subparagraph (A) and in providing appropriate meals to children with medically certified special dietary needs. The Secretary shall provide additional technical assistance to schools that are having difficulty maintaining compliance with the requirements.

(2) FLUID MILK.-

(A) IN GENERAL.-Lunches served by schools participating in the school lunch program under this chapter-

(i) shall offer students a variety of fluid milk. Such milk shall be consistent with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans published under section 5341 of title 7;

(ii) may offer students flavored and unflavored fluid milk and lactose-free fluid milk; and

(iii) shall provide a substitute for fluid milk for students whose disability restricts their diet, on receipt of a written statement from a licensed physician that identifies the disability that restricts the student's diet and that specifies the substitute for fluid milk.

(B) SUBSTITUTES.-

(i) STANDARDS FOR SUBSTITUTION.-A school may substitute for the fluid milk provided under subparagraph (A), a nondairy beverage that is nutritionally equivalent to fluid milk and meets nutritional standards established by the Secretary (which shall, among other requirements to be determined by the Secretary, include fortification of calcium, protein, vitamin A, and vitamin D to levels found in cow's milk) for students who cannot consume fluid milk because of a medical or other special dietary need other than a disability described in subparagraph (A)(iii).

(ii) NOTICE.-The substitutions may be made if the school notifies the State agency that the school is implementing a variation allowed under this subparagraph, and if the substitution is requested by written statement of a medical authority or by a student's parent or legal guardian that identifies the medical or other special dietary need that restricts the student's diet, except that the school shall not be required to provide beverages other than beverages the school has identified as acceptable substitutes.

(iii) EXCESS EXPENSES BORNE BY SCHOOL FOOD AUTHORITY.-Expenses incurred in providing substitutions under this subparagraph that are in excess of expenses covered by reimbursements under this chapter shall be paid by the school food authority.

(C) RESTRICTIONS ON SALE OF MILK PROHIBITED.-A school that participates in the school lunch program under this chapter shall not directly or indirectly restrict the sale or marketing of fluid milk products by the school (or by a person approved by the school) at any time or any place-

(i) on the school premises; or

(ii) at any school-sponsored event.

(3) Students in senior high schools that participate in the school lunch program under this chapter (and, when approved by the local school district or nonprofit private schools, students in any other grade level) shall not be required to accept offered foods they do not intend to consume, and any such failure to accept offered foods shall not affect the full charge to the student for a lunch meeting the requirements of this subsection or the amount of payments made under this chapter to any such school for such lunch.

(4) PROVISION OF INFORMATION.-

(A) GUIDANCE.-Prior to the beginning of the school year beginning July 2004, the Secretary shall issue guidance to States and school food authorities to increase the consumption of foods and food ingredients that are recommended for increased serving consumption in the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans published under section 5341 of title 7.

(B) RULES.-Not later than 2 years after June 30, 2004, the Secretary shall promulgate rules, based on the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, that reflect specific recommendations, expressed in serving recommendations, for increased consumption of foods and food ingredients offered in school nutrition programs under this chapter and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 ( 42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq.).

(C) PROCUREMENT AND PROCESSING OF FOOD SERVICE PRODUCTS AND COMMODITIES.-The Secretary shall-

(i) identify, develop, and disseminate to State departments of agriculture and education, school food authorities, local educational agencies, and local processing entities, model product specifications and practices for foods offered in school nutrition programs under this chapter and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 ( 42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq.) to ensure that the foods reflect the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans published under section 5341 of title 7;

(ii) not later than 1 year after December 13, 2010-

(I) carry out a study to analyze the quantity and quality of nutritional information available to school food authorities about food service products and commodities; and

(II) submit to Congress a report on the results of the study that contains such legislative recommendations as the Secretary considers necessary to ensure that school food authorities have access to the nutritional information needed for menu planning and compliance assessments; and

(iii) to the maximum extent practicable, in purchasing and processing commodities for use in school nutrition programs under this chapter and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 ( 42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq.), purchase the widest variety of healthful foods that reflect the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

(5) WATER.-Schools participating in the school lunch program under this chapter shall make available to children free of charge, as nutritionally appropriate, potable water for consumption in the place where meals are served during meal service.

(b) Eligibility

(1)

(A) Not later than June 1 of each fiscal year, the Secretary shall prescribe income guidelines for determining eligibility for free and reduced price lunches during the 12-month period beginning July 1 of such fiscal year and ending June 30 of the following fiscal year. The income guidelines for determining eligibility for free lunches shall be 130 percent of the applicable family size income levels contained in the nonfarm income poverty guidelines prescribed by the Office of Management and Budget, as adjusted annually in accordance with subparagraph (B). The income guidelines for determining eligibility for reduced price lunches for any school year shall be 185 percent of the applicable family size income levels contained in the nonfarm income poverty guidelines prescribed by the Office of Management and Budget, as adjusted annually in accordance with subparagraph (B). The Office of Management and Budget guidelines shall be revised at annual intervals, or at any shorter interval deemed feasible and desirable.

(B) The revision required by subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall be made by multiplying-

(i) the official poverty line (as defined by the Office of Management and Budget); by

(ii) the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index during the annual or other interval immediately preceding the time at which the adjustment is made.

Revisions under this subparagraph shall be made not more than 30 days after the date on which the consumer price index data required to compute the adjustment becomes available.

(2)

(A) Following the determination by the Secretary under paragraph (1) of this subsection of the income eligibility guidelines for each school year, each State educational agency shall announce the income eligibility guidelines, by family size, to be used by schools in the State in making determinations of eligibility for free and reduced price lunches. Local school authorities shall, each year, publicly announce the income eligibility guidelines for free and reduced price lunches on or before the opening of school.

(B) APPLICATIONS AND DESCRIPTIVE MATERIAL.-

(i) IN GENERAL.-Applications for free and reduced price lunches, in such form as the Secretary may prescribe or approve, and any descriptive material, shall be distributed to the parents or guardians of children in attendance at the school, and shall contain only the family size income levels for reduced price meal eligibility with the explanation that households with incomes less than or equal to these values would be eligible for free or reduced price lunches.

(ii) INCOME ELIGIBILITY GUIDELINES.-Forms and descriptive material distributed in accordance with clause (i) may not contain the income eligibility guidelines for free lunches.

(iii) CONTENTS OF DESCRIPTIVE MATERIAL.-

(I) IN GENERAL.-Descriptive material distributed in accordance with clause (i) shall contain a notification that-

(aa) participants in the programs listed in subclause (II) may be eligible for free or reduced price meals; and

(bb) documentation may be requested for verification of eligibility for free or reduced price meals.

(II) PROGRAMS.-The programs referred to in subclause (I)(aa) are-

(aa) the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children established by section 17 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 ( 42 U.S.C. 1786 );

(bb) the supplemental nutrition assistance program established under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 ( 7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.);

(cc) the food distribution program on Indian reservations established under section 4(b) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 ( 7 U.S.C. 2013(b) ); and

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