January 22, 2015

TO: JPA Members

FROM: Patricia Faison

RE: JPA Regulatory Update: USDA Proposed Rule – Meal Pattern Revisions (Juices Mentioned)

USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides aid to child and adult care institutions, as well as, family and group day care homes for the provision of nutritious foods that contribute to the wellness, healthy growth, and development of young children, and the health and well-being of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons. Through CACFP, more than 3.3 million children and 120,000 adults receive nutritious meals and snacks as part of the daily care they receive.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers CACFP through grants to US States. The program is offered in all 50 States and the District of Columbia via various state-funded agencies and educational, health and social services departments.

Every five years, Congress must reauthorize child nutrition programs. During this process, Congress will debate new funding levels, methods to improve programs, and develop new policies to ensure American children have access to healthy, nutritious food. The current bill, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA), will expire on September 30, 2015. CACFP will be one of a number of programs up for reauthorization.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) issued a proposed rule in the Federal Register (80 FR 2037; January 15, 2014), available here, proposing to “change the meal pattern requirements for the CACFP to better align the meal patterns with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA). According to the Agency, proposed revisions would apply to day care institutions participating in the CACFP; schools serving infants and young children, ages four and younger, who participate in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) or National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and schools and institutions serving children of all ages who participate in the Special Milk Program (SMP). The proposed rules contains a number of recommendations related to fruit juices.

The USDA proposes the following:

Infant Meal Patterns

  • Revise the infant age groups from three age groups to two age groups. The current infant age groups are 0 through 3 months, 4 through 7 months and 8 through 11 months. The proposed age groups for infants would be 0 through 5 months and 6 through 11 months.
  • Introduce solid foods to infants beginning at 6 months of age;
  • Eliminate the service of fruit juice to infants of any age;
  • Allow reimbursement for infant meals when the mother directly breastfeeds her child at the child care facility;
  • Require a fruit or vegetable serving in the snack meal pattern for the 6 to 11 month infant age group; and
  • Allow additional grain options for infant snacks;

Child and Adult Meal Patterns

  • Add a fourth age group (13 through 18 years) to the meal pattern for children;
  • Separate the fruit and vegetable component for children and adults;
  • Require that at least one grain serving per day, across all eating occasions, be whole grain or whole grain-rich;
  • Require breakfast cereals to conform to the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) requirements;
  • Prevent grain-based desserts from counting towards the grains component;
  • Allow an optional meat or meat alternate to be served at breakfast in lieu of some grains;
  • Allow tofu to be counted as a meat alternate;
  • Allow yogurt to be used to meet the fluid milk requirement for adults only, no more than once per day;
  • Unflavored whole milk be served to children one year of age (12 – 23 months) and 1 percent or fat-free milk be served to children two and older and adults;
  • Flavored milk served is fat-free only;
  • Non-dairy milk substitutions, flavored or unflavored, that are nutritionally equivalent to milk, may be served in lieu of fluid milk, if requested in writing by a child’s parent or guardian or an adult participant;
  • Day care institutions make drinking water available throughout the day to all children upon their request; and
  • Disallow frying as an onsite preparation method for day care institutions and facilities.

Recommendations related to juices
Below are a few excerpts from the proposed rule related to fruit and vegetable juices.

Meal Patterns for Infants
Additionally, to better meet the nutritional needs of infants, this proposed rule would revise the infant meal patterns to allow service of only breastmilk and/or infant formula to infants through 5 months of age, allow the introduction of additional meal components at 6 months of age (as developmentally appropriate), prohibit the service of fruit juice to infants through 11 months, and require the service of a fruit or vegetable in the infant snack pattern.

The IOM made two recommendations relating to the service of fruits and vegetables to infants. First, the IOM recommended eliminating the service of fruit juice to infants of any age. Current regulations permit fruit juice to be served in the snack meal pattern for infants 8 through 11 months. The second recommendation would require a fruit or vegetable serving in the snack meal pattern for the 6 through 11 month age group. These recommendations ensure infants are provided more access to fruits and vegetables without the consumption of sugars and low-nutrient dense calories that fruit juice provides. These recommendations would bring the CACFP meal patterns into alignment with the food packages for infants in the WIC Program.

Meal Patterns for Children and Adults
The proposed rule also would allow fruit juice or vegetable juice to comprise the entire fruit or vegetable component for all meals. With the fruit and vegetable component separated into two components with no increase in the total serving size, requiring that juice comprise no more than half of the component would result in very small servings. However, this proposed rule would not allow fruit juice and vegetable juice to be served at the same meal, and would allow only one beverage (fluid milk, fruit juice, or vegetable juice) to be served at snacks.

As the IOM recognized, some products and preparation methods used for fruits and vegetables can be a source of added sugars and solid fats. To limit the intake of added sugars and solid fats, the USDA recommends that providers adopt the IOM’s recommendations and limit the consumption of fruit juice to no more than once per day for children.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans do not establish a daily minimum intake for water consumption, but do recommend that water be consumed daily. States and sponsors should encourage facilities to serve water with snacks when no other beverage is being served, and in lieu of other high calorie, sweetened beverages (juice drinks, soda, sports drinks, etc.) that are served outside of meal times.

The deadline to submit comments to the USDA is April 15, 2015. JPA staff and the Nutrition Working Group will be meeting via conference call to consider drafting comments to the USDA. If you would like to be part of the group drafting comments for this proposal, please contact Diane Welland at to be included in the upcoming conference calls.

Patricia Faison

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