LAS CRUCES—The US Department of Agriculture has revamped its school snack standards which is having an impact on which foods can be sold in school fundraising activities, said Barbara Berger, health and nutrition specialist for the Las Cruces Public Schools. Due to federal changes in the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, new rules affect “competitive foods,” which are snacks sold in vending machines, a la carte lunch lines and fundraisers, Berger said.

Berger said the new rules, part of the federal “Smart Snacks in Schools” regulations, set limits on calories, fats and sugar, and now, sodium is included in the tighter restrictions.  As LCPS officials have done in the past, the new regulations encourage the consumption of other healthier products such as dairy, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Barbara Berger_web

During the LCPS workshops, Barbara Berger will provide important information about the federal rules regarding foods sold in fundraising activities.

In response, the LCPS Nutrition Services Department is holding several informational workshops where the new information will be shared. The next workshop will be held several times on Tuesday, August 19 at the LCPS Administration Building, 505 S. Main, Loretto Towne Centre, in conference room A. A representative from fundraising groups should attend one of the following sessions on that day: 10 a.m., 4:00 p.m. or 5:30 p.m.

“The new regulations apply to any school that participates in the National School Lunch Program, and that includes all LCPS schools,” Berger said. “We don’t want the new regulations to come as a shock to parents and clubs that plan fundraising activities this year.”

Berger said the workshops are geared toward booster club leaders or others who sell food for the purpose of fundraising for students or in the name of LCPS. The training takes about an hour and participants then sign a memorandum of understanding agreeing to follow the food fundraising regulations.

Berger said the USDA guidelines are aimed at practical yet nutritious standards for the snack foods and beverages sold to children at school during the school day and through fundraising activities.

“Limiting junk food doesn’t have to be an impediment for clubs and organizations who are involved with fundraising,” Berger said.  “Healthier snacks have been required by the state for eight years and now, there’s federal legislation behind this movements to reduce obesity in children.”

“New Mexico showed amazing foresight in the movement to improve school nutrition environment,” she added.

Starting in the 2006, all New Mexico schools implemented regulations that control what foods can be sold on campuses and as fundraisers in the school and community. Prior changes removed most sugary beverages from student access areas in school and improved the quality of snack foods sold to students, she said.

For more information: Barbara Berger, bberger@lcps.k12.nm.us, 575.527-5943.