Maine DOE to offer trainings on National School Lunch Program improvements

Maine DOE Child Nutrition Program staff will be offering training sessions this summer to update local school unit nutrition program staff on federal and State improvements to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). A regional training schedule will be available in June and published in the Commissioner’s Update and on the Department’s professional development calendar.

The modifications to the Department’s web-based meal reimbursement system will allow all school administrative units to complete their annual start of the school year paperwork online. This includes the policy packet, systems of accountability and various agreements.

School units must determine need and order all products for the entire school year from the USDA food program during August and September. However, products will continue to be delivered during the year as districts request deliveries.

Federal level improvements include the breakfast meal pattern which will require a minimum of one cup of fruit daily and five cups of fruit per week to be offered to students. Students must take a minimum of one-half cup of fruit daily for a reimbursable meal. Also new next school year, all grain products must be whole grain rich for breakfast and lunch. Currently, only half of the grain products served must be whole grain rich. Sodium requirement monitoring will begin in the 2014-15 school year. This is new to the NSLP as sodium has not been monitored in the past.

School nutrition standards adopted in 2010 will become effective on July 1. The standards included in the rule apply to all foods sold to students on the school campus during the school day, including food prepared and/or sold by culinary education programs.

For more information about these improvements, contact Maine DOE Child Nutrition Specialist Walter Beesley at walter.beesley@maine.gov.