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Competitive Foods and Beverages

Competitive Food and Beverage Sales in Schools

In California, any food or beverage sold to students on the school campus, during the school day, outside of the federally reimbursable meal programs is considered to compete with those meals, and is referred to as a competitive food or beverage. The following is a summary of the federal and state laws and regulations governing competitive food and beverage sales in California.

*For a more detailed review and summary of competitive food sale state and federal rules and regulations, refer to
 
SUMMARIES
 

Local School Wellness Policy

 

  • Reference: Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Section 204; Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations   (7 CFR), Parts 210.30 and 220.7

 

All districts participating in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, or Special Milk Program must establish a local school wellness policy (LSWP) that, among other things, includes nutrition guidelines for all foods and beverages available on school campus, and only permit the marketing and advertising of foods and beverages that meet the SSIS standards under 7 CFR 210.11. The LSWP should, at a minimum, incorporate the current state and federal rules that govern competitive foods and beverages, but can impose more stringent requirements.

 

Local School Wellness Policy Public Notification

  •  Reference: California Education Code (EC), Section 49432; 7 CFR Part 210.30

Every school or district participating in the NSLP or SBP shall inform the public about the content and implementation of the local school wellness policy, and make the policy and any updates to the policy available to the public on an annual basis. 

Monitoring and Enforcement

  • References: EC sections 49431(c) and 49431(d); 7 CFR Part 210.11

The California Legislature encourages the governing board of a school district to annually review its compliance with the food and beverage rules. The CDE monitors SFAs and local educational agencies (LEA) for compliance with the competitive food and beverage rules through the administrative review process. The LEA is responsible for ensuring that all groups or individuals selling competitive foods or beverages maintain records that document compliance.

 

Fundraising

 

Fundraising with foods and beverages is allowed in California schools. California does not, however, allow exempted fundraisers—meaning that any foods or beverages sold as a fundraiser to students on school campus, during the school day, outside of the school meal program must comply with the state and federal competitive food or beverage restrictions. Fundraisers or sales of noncompliant foods or beverages are allowed when sold to adults, or off of the school campus, or outside of the school day.

 

Middle/High School – Food Restrictions

 

  • References: Education Code sections 49430m 49431.2, 49431.7, California Code of Regulations sections 15575, 15577, 15578, Code of Federal Regulations sections 210.11, 220.12

When referring to the food restrictions below, a middle/junior high contains grades 7 or 8, 7 to 9, or 7 to 10. A high school contains any of the grades 10 to 12. The following food restrictions are effective from midnight to one-half hour after the end of the official school day.

These food restrictions apply to ALL foods sold to students by any entity. Sold means the exchange of food  for  money, coupons, vouchers, or order forms, when any part of the exchange occurs on a school campus.

“Snack” foods must meet one of the following general food standards:

  • Be a fruit, vegetable, dairy, protein, or whole grain item* (or have one of these as the first ingredient), or
  • Be a combination food containing at least ¼ cup fruit or vegetable.

AND must meet the following nutrition standards:

  • Less than or equal to 35% calories from fat (except nuts, seeds, reduced-fat cheese or part skim mozzarella, dried fruit and nut/seed combo, fruit, non-fried vegetables, seafood), and
  • Less than 10% calories from saturated fat (except nuts, seeds, reduced-fat cheese or part skim mozzarella, dried fruit and nut/seed combo), and
  • Less than or equal to 35% sugar by weight (except fruit**, non-fried vegetables, dried fruit and nut/seed combo), and
  • Less than 0.5 grams trans fat per serving (no exceptions), and
  • Less than or equal to 200 milligrams sodium per item/container (no exceptions), and
  • Less than or equal to 200 calories per item/container (no exceptions)
 

Paired foods:

  • If exempt food(s) are combined with nonexempt food(s) or added fat/sugar they must meet ALL nutrition standards above.
  • If two foods exempt from one or more of the nutrition standards are paired together and sold as a single item, the item must meet for trans fat, sodium, and calories.

 

“Entrée” foods must be intended as the main dish and be a:

  • Meat/meat alternate and whole grain rich food, or
  • Meat/meat alternate and fruit or non-fried vegetable, or
  • Meat/meat alternate alone (cannot be yogurt, cheese, nuts, seeds, or meat snacks = these are considered a “snack” food).

AND

A competitive entrée sold by District/School Food Service the day of or the day after it appears on the reimbursable meal program menu must be:

  • Less than or equal to 400 calories, and
  • Less than or equal to 35% calories from fat
  • Less than 0.5 grams trans fat per serving

 

A competitive entrée sold by Food Service if NOT on the menu the day of or day after or any other entity (PTA, student organization, etc.) must meet one of the following general food standards:

  • Be a fruit, vegetable, dairy, protein, or whole grain item (or have one of these as the first ingredient), or
  • Be a combination food containing at least ¼ cup fruit or vegetable

AND meet the following nutrition standards:

  • Less than or equal to 35% calories from fat, and
  • Less than 10% calories from saturated fat, and
  • Less than or equal to 35% sugar by weight, and
  • Less than 0.5 grams trans fat per serving, and
  • Less than or equal to 480 milligrams sodium, and
  • Less than or equal to 350 calories

 

* A whole grain item contains:

  • The statement “Diets rich in whole grain foods… and low in total fat… may help reduce the risk of heart disease…,” or
  • A whole grain as the first ingredient, or
  • A combination of whole grain ingredients comprising at least 51% of the total grain weight (manufacturer must verify), or
  • At least 51% whole grain by weight.

 

** Dried blueberries cranberries, cherries, tropical fruit, chopped dates, or chopped figs that contain added sugar are exempt from fat and sugar standards. Canned fruit in 100% juice only.

Check your district’s wellness policy for stricter rules.

Groups or individuals selling foods/beverages to students must keep their own records as proof of compliance.

Middle/High School – Beverage Restrictions

  • References: Education Code Section 49431.5, California Code of Regulations Section 15576, Code of Federal Regulations sections 210.10, 210.11, 220.8, 220.12

When referring to the food restrictions below, a middle/junior high contains grades 7 or 8, 7 to 9, or 7 to 10. A high school contains any of the grades 10 to 12. The following beverage restrictions are effective from midnight to one-half hour after the end of the official school day.

These beverage restrictions apply to ALL beverages sold to students by any entity. Sold means the exchange of beverages for money, coupons, vouchers, or order forms, when any part of the exchange occurs on a school campus.

A compliant beverage must be marketed or labeled as a fruit and/or vegetable juice, milk, non-dairy milk, water, electrolyte replacement beverage/sports drink, or flavored water AND meet all criteria under that specific category.

Compliant beverages:

1. Fruit or Vegetable Juice:
    a. At least 50% juice, and
    b. No added sweeteners, and
    c. Less than or equal to 12 fl. oz. serving size
2. Milk:
    a. Cow's or goat's milk, and
    b. 1% (unflavored), nonfat (flavored, unflavored), and
    c. Contains Vitamins A & D, and
    d. At least 25% of the calcium Daily Value per 8 fl. oz., and
    e. Less than or equal to 28 grams of total sugar per 8 fl. oz., and
    f. Less than or equal to 12 fl. oz. serving size
3. Non-dairy Milk:
    a. Nutritionally equivalent to milk (see 7 CFR 210.10(d)(3), 220.8(i)(3)), and
    b. Less than or equal to 28 grams of total sugar per 8 fl. oz., and
    c. Less than or equal to 5 grams fat per 8 fl. oz., and
    d. Less than or equal to 12 fl. oz. serving size
4. Water:
    a. No added sweeteners
    b. No serving size limit
5. Electrolyte Replacement Beverages (HIGH SCHOOLS ONLY)
    a. Must be either less than or equal to 5 calories per 8 fl. oz. (no calorie)
        OR less than or equal to 40 calories per 8 fl. oz. (low calorie), and
    b. Water as first ingredient, and
    c. Less than or equal to 16.8 grams added sweetener per 8 fl. oz., and
    d. 10-150 mg sodium per 8 fl. oz., and
    e. 10-90 mg potassium per 8 fl. oz., and
    f. No added caffeine, and
    g. Less than or equal to 20 fl. oz. serving size (no calorie)
        OR less than or equal to 12 fl. oz. serving size (low calorie)
6. Flavored Water (HIGH SCHOOLS ONLY)
    a. Must be either less than or equal to 5 calories per 8 fl. oz. (no calorie)
        OR less than or equal to 40 calories per 8 fl. oz. (low calorie), and
    b. No added sweetener, and
    c. No added caffeine, and
    d. Less than or equal to 20 fl. oz. serving size (no calorie)
        OR less than or equal to 12 fl. oz. serving size (low calorie)
 
All beverages must be caffeine-free (trace amounts are allowable).
 

Middle/High School – Student Organizations

 

  •  Reference: California Code of Regulations Section 15501 

 

Student organization is defined as a group of students that are NOT associated with the curricula or academics of the school or district.

Effective from midnight to one-half hour after the end of the official school day.

Student organization sales must comply with all food and beverage standards AND all of the following:

  1. Up to three categories of foods or beverages may be sold each day (e.g., chips, sandwiches, juices, etc.).
  2. Food or beverage item(s) must be pre-approved by the governing board of the school district.
  3. Only one student organization is allowed to sell each day.
  4. Food(s) or beverage(s) cannot be prepared on campus.
  5. The food or beverage categories sold cannot be the same as the categories sold in the food service program at that school during the same school day.
  6. In addition to one student organization sale each day, any and all student organizations may sell on the same four designated days per year. School administration may set these dates.

Additional Resources

Local School Wellness Policy

California Department of Education (DOE) – Home

California Education Code
Search for sections 49430-49436

California Code of Regulations
Search for Title 5, sections 15500-15501 and 15575-15578

Code of Federal Regulations

California Project Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition (LEAN) Calculator California Project LEAN has updated their online calculator to integrate the California and USDA requirements for competitive foods and beverages.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Smart Snacks in School This USDA Web page provides tools for schools that focus on smart snacks and compliance with the federal SSIS rule. Keep in mind that in some situations California rules on competitive foods and beverages are stricter than federal requirements.

Management Bulletins
Links to applicable competitive food and beverage communications distributed by the California Department of Education Nutrition Services Division:

SNP-21-2016: U.S. Department of Agriculture's Smart Snacks in School Final Rule (Posted Oct-2016)

SNP-11-2016: Changes to the Federal Competitive Food Requirements as of July 1, 2016 (Posted Apr-2016)

SNP-20-2015: Competitive Foods and Beverages: Classifying Smoothies—Revised (Posted Apr-2015)

SNP-15-2015: Repeal of Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value (Posted Mar-2015)

SNP-11-2015: Competitive Foods and Beverages: Summary and Overview of State and Federal Rules (Posted May-2015)

SNP-34-2014: Smart Snacks for Exempt Foods When Paired Together (Posted Jan-2014)

SNP-28-2014: Competitive Foods and Beverages: Implementing the Definition of “Sold” (Posted Sep-2014)

SNP-27-2014: Competitive Foods and Beverages: Determining Compliant Beverages (Posted Oct-2014)

SNP-25-2014: Grain Entrées and Exempt Fundraisers Related to the Smart Snacks in School Rule (Posted Aug-2014)