USDA Proposes Changes In Milk, Other Dairy Products In Child, Adult Care Food Program
No Cheese For Infants; Only 1%, Fat-Free Milk Would Be Allowed For Kids Over 2 Years Old; Yogurt Would Be OK For Adults As Milk Alternate
Washington—The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) last Friday released a proposed rule with new nutrition standards for meals provided through the agency’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
The proposed changes to the mail pattern requirements for the CACFP are intended to better align the meal patterns with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010.
Public comments on this proposal, which was published in the Federal Register, must be received on or before April 15, 2015.
Under the proposed rule, the age groups for infants would be zero through five months, and six through 11 months.
Current meal patterns allow infants to be served cheese, cottage cheese, or a cheese food or spread beginning at the age of eight months. Stakeholders requested that the proposed meal pattern also allow yogurt to be served to infants.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that no cow’s milk or cow’s milk byproducts be introduced to infants until 12 months of age, and USDA said it concurs with the recommendation.
Therefore, the proposed rule would eliminate the option of serving cheese, cottage cheese, or cheese food or spread to infants and will continue to prohibit serving yogurt to infants.
Lowfat, Fat-Free Milks Proposed
The HHFKA requires that all milk served in the CACFP be consistent with the most recent version of the Dietary Guidelines. Those recommend lowfat (1 percent) and fat-free milk (skim) for children over the age of two and adults.
Because the Dietary Guidelines do not address children under the age of two, the IOM was tasked with providing appropriate recommendations based on other current nutritional science for this population. The IOM recommended that children one year of age (12 through 23 months) are served whole milk only.
Also, to allow flexibility in menu planning, the IOM recommended that yogurt be allowed as an alternate to either fluid milk or meat/meat alternates no more than once per day for children older than two years of age and adults.
To implement these provisions of the HHFKA, USDA issued a memorandum that advised state agencies that milk served in the CACFP must be consistent with the most recent version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Therefore, fluid milk served in CACFP to participants two years of age and older must be: fat-free or lowfat milk, fat-free or lowfat lactose reduced milk, fat-free or lowfat lactose free milk, fat-free or lowfat buttermilk, or fat-free or lowfat acidified milk.
This proposed rule reflects the provisions set forth in that memo. Also, this proposed would require children one year of age to be served unflavored whole milk only.
The memo further advised state agencies that in the case of children and adults who cannot consume fluid milk due to medical or other special dietary needs, other than a disability, non-dairy beverages may be served in lieu of fluid milk. Non-dairy beverages must be nutritionally equivalent to milk and meet the nutritional standards for fortification of calcium, protein, vitamins A and D, and other nutrients to levels found in cow’s milk.
Parents may request non-dairy milk substituitions without providing a medical statement. The request must identify the medical or other special dietary need that restricts the diet of the child.
Yogurt And Flavored Milks
The proposed rule would adopt the IOM’s recommendation to allow yogurt to be used to meet the fluid milk requirement for adults only, no more than once per day. Also, yogurt may still be used as a meat alternate no more than once per day for all ages.
At this time, USDA will not extend the allowance of yogurt as a fluid milk substitute for children.
The IOM identified flavored milk as a source of added sugars, and recommended that flavored milk be limited and served only to adults and children five years of age and older participating in at-risk afterschool programs, and that flavored milk not be allowed to be served to children of any age in traditional child care or emergency shelters.
The IOM also made recommendations to limit the amount of sugar in flavored milk and in yogurt. For flavored milk, the IOM recommended no more than 22 grams per eight fluid-ounce serving. For yogurt, the IOM recommended no more than 40 grams of sugar per eight-ounce serving.
USDA is proposing several alternatives for comment. For flavored milk served to children two through four years: alternative A1 would prohibit the service of flavored milk to children two through four years of age, while alternative A2 would require that flavored milk served to children two through four years of age contain no more than 22 grams of sugar per eight fluid ounce serving.
For flavored milk served to children five years and older, alternative B1 would require that flavored milk, when served to children five years older and adults, contain no more than 22 grams of sugar per eight fluid ounce serving; and alternative B2 would recommend that flavored milk, when served to children five years of age and older and adults, contain no more than 22 grams of sugar per eight fluid ounce serving.
For yogurt served to all age groups: alternative C1 would require that yogurt contain no more than 30 grams of sugar per six ounce serving (this provision would be considered a requirement under the meal pattern components), while alternative C2 would also recommend that yogurt contain no more than 30 grams of sugar per six ounce serving (this recommendation would be included under best practices).
To maintain consistency, this proposed rule would require schools and institutions participating in the Special Milk Program to serve only lowfat and fat-free milk to children over the age of two years, and would require that flavored milk served be fat-free.