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AB-1197 School meals: nutritional requirements.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 03/22/2021 09:00 PM
AB1197:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 22, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1197


Introduced by Assembly Member Quirk-Silva
(Principal coauthor: Senator Limón)

February 18, 2021


An act to amend Section 49531 of the Education Code, relating to school meals.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1197, as amended, Quirk-Silva. School meals: nutritional requirements.
Existing law authorizes a school district, county superintendent of schools, child development program, local agency, private school, parochial school, or any other agency that qualifies for federal aid under specified federal school meal programs, to apply to the State Department of Education for all available federal and state funds so that a nutritionally adequate breakfast or lunch, or both, may be provided to pupils each schoolday at each school, as provided. Existing law describes a nutritionally adequate breakfast or lunch for this purpose as one that qualifies for reimbursement under the most current meal pattern for the federal School Breakfast Program or the federal National School Lunch Program.
This bill would revise the sodium, grain, sodium and sugar requirements for a nutritionally adequate breakfast or lunch to be more stringent than federal requirements, as provided. The bill, commencing with the 2023–24 school year, would set a tiered structure for reducing the sodium amount in breakfasts and lunches for these purposes over time, as provided, and bill would require the final sodium requirements, commencing with the 2031–32 school year, to be determined by the department in alignment with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. The bill, commencing with the 2023–24 school year, would require that the grains offered in a breakfast or lunch contain at least 50% whole grains and would require the remaining grain content to be enriched. The bill, commencing with the 2025–26 school year, would require that a breakfast or lunch meet, on average over the school week, requirements that the department develops that are consistent with the quantitative recommendations for limiting added sugars established pursuant to specified federal dietary guidelines.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Globally, diet-related chronic diseases are the leading causes of death.
(2) Many children consume one-third to one-half of their daily calories during the schoolday.
(3) More than 99 percent of participating schools in the United States were meeting the 2012 federal school meal nutrition standards.
(4) Studies conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture and other researchers have shown that that, since the implementation of the 2012 federal school meal standards, the nutritional quality of school meals has significantly increased, pupils are eating more healthy food, food waste has either remained the same or decreased, and pupil participation rates are higher in schools where the meals are healthiest.
(5) The number of people and families relying on food assistance programs, including school programs, is increasing due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As this reliance goes up, it is more important than ever that we improve the quality of these food programs. The school meal may end up being the one meal that meets nutritional standards.
(b) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would ensure that school meals are high quality, healthy, and nutritious for all pupils.

SEC. 2.

 Section 49531 of the Education Code is amended to read:

49531.
 (a) A child nutrition entity may apply to the department for all available federal and state funds so that a nutritionally adequate breakfast or lunch, or both, may be provided to pupils each schoolday at each school in the school districts or maintained by the county superintendents of schools, or at private schools and parochial schools and to children receiving child development services. The state board shall adopt rules and regulations for the operation of lunch and breakfast programs in school districts. A child nutrition entity that receives state funds pursuant to this article shall provide breakfasts and lunches in accordance with state and federal guidelines.
(b) A nutritionally adequate breakfast or lunch, for the purposes of this article, is one that meets all of the following requirements, as applicable:
(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) to (6), inclusive, and (3), the breakfast or lunch meets, at minimum, the nutrition standards and meal patterns, including food components and quantities, in the final rule for school meals established in the 2012 federal “Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs” (77 Fed. Reg. 4088 (Jan. 26, 2012)).

(2)From the 2023–24 school year to the 2025–26 school year, inclusive, the breakfast or lunch meets the Target 2 sodium requirements established in the 2012 federal “Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs” (77 Fed. Reg. 4088 (Jan. 26, 2012)).

(3)From the 2026–27 school year to the 2030–31 school year, inclusive, the breakfast or lunch meets the Target 3 sodium requirements established in the 2012 federal “Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs” (77 Fed. Reg. 4088 (Jan. 26, 2012)).

(4)

(2) Commencing with the 2031–32 school year, the breakfast or lunch contains a sodium limit determined by the department in alignment with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium (March 5, 2019).

(5)Commencing with the 2023–24 school year, the grains offered in the breakfast or lunch conform to the grain requirements established in the 2012 federal “Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs” (77 Fed. Reg. 4088 (Jan. 26, 2012)).

(6)

(3) Commencing with the 2025–26 school year, the breakfast or lunch meets, on average over the school week, requirements that the department develops that are consistent with the quantitative recommendations for limiting added sugars established by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans published pursuant to Section 301 of the federal National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. Sec. 5341).
(c) State reimbursement for meals provided pursuant to this article shall be limited to meals provided to pupils who are within the relevant definitions and criteria in federal statutes and regulations that prescribe eligibility for free and reduced-price meals.