USDA To Allow More Grains Back Into School Meals

U.S. Grain Industry Applauds Decision

Washington, D.C., December 19 — The grain industry applauds the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to suspend daily and weekly maximum quantities placed on grains, meats, and meat alternatives for the school year 2012-2013, saying the action is positive for both school foodservice operators and school communities, as schools will now have more flexibility to offer grain products to their students.

The Grain Chain, an industry collaboration representing grain producers, millers, bakers, and allied manufacturers, including the Grain Foods Foundation (GFF), Wheat Foods Council (WFC), American Bakers Association (ABA), USA Rice Federation, National Pasta Association (NPA), National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), U.S. Wheat Associates, and North American Millers Association (NAMA), commends the USDA for closely monitoring the situation, listening to concerns of the community, and taking positive action.

“Childhood nutrition is a topic we in the milling and baking industry care about deeply, so any regulation restricting schools from delivering full nutrition benefits is not the answer” says Christine Cochran, Executive Director of the Grain Foods Foundation. “We commend the USDA for recognizing the need to allow schools greater opportunity to provide adequate nutrition to their students.”

“ABA is pleased USDA granted bakers additional flexibility in implementing the new grain standards for school meals. We applaud the organization for responding to the concerns of bakers who want to provide healthy, nutritious and wholesome products to our nation’s children, said Robb MacKie, ABA President and CEO.
“We in the rice industry support USDA’s action to allow schools greater flexibility to use low cost, nutritious whole grain brown and enriched white rice to provide healthy school meals. Since rice combines well with vegetables, fruit and other healthy foods to make flavorful dishes students enjoy, school meal planners can now more easily meet new USDA requirements and also make sure students are getting a full measure of nutrition benefits,” said Betsy Ward, USA Rice President and CEO.

USDA’s new school meal nutrition rule’s support of more whole grains, fruits and vegetables is making very positive changes in meals served to 31 million children each day. The new nutrition goals are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommended six 1-ounce servings of grain foods each day for adults, with at least three servings coming from whole grains. Bread and grains provide many of the essential nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy and high-quality carbohydrates, such as grains, fuel both body and brain, which students need both for learning and physical activity. The versatility of grains allows schools to offer their students a variety of meals options that provide sustenance and meaningful nutrition.

The American Bakers Association
The American Bakers Association (ABA) is the Washington D.C.-based voice of the wholesale baking industry. Since 1897, ABA has represented the interests of bakers before the U.S. Congress, federal agencies, and international regulatory authorities. ABA advocates on behalf of more than 700 baking facilities and baking company suppliers. ABA members produce bread, rolls, crackers, bagels, sweet goods, tortillas and many other wholesome, nutritious baked products for America’s families. The baking industry generates more than $103 billion in economic activity annually and employs 633,000 highly skilled people. Contact:

Grain Foods Foundation
The Grain Foods Foundation, a joint venture of members of the milling, baking and allied industries formed in 2004, is dedicated to advancing public understanding of the beneficial role grain-based foods play in the human diet. Directed by a board of trustees, funding for the Foundation is provided through voluntary donations from public and private grain-based food companies and is supplemented by industry associations. Contact:

National Association of Wheat Growers
National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) is a federation of 21state wheat grower associations that works to represent the needs and interests of wheat producers before Congress and federal agencies. Based in Washington, D.C., NAWG is grower-governed and grower-funded, and works in areas as diverse as federal farm policy, trade, environmental regulation, agricultural research and sustainability. Contact:

National Pasta Association
National Pasta Association (NPA) Founded in 1904, NPA is an organization of pasta manufacturers, millers and suppliers to the US pasta industry which serves as a cohesive industry advocate, a promoter of pasta and a center of knowledge for its members. Contact:

North American Millers’ Association
NAMA is the trade association of the wheat, corn, oat, and rye milling industries. Member companies operate mills in 38 states and Canada, representing more than 90 percent of total industry production capacity. Contact:

USA Rice Federation
USA Rice Federation is the global advocate for all segments of the U.S. rice industry with a mission to promote and protect the interests of producers, millers, merchants and allied businesses. Over 20 billion pounds of long, medium, and short grain, and organic and specialty rice is grown and harvested each year by farmers in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Missouri. Contact:

The Wheat Foods Council
The Wheat Foods Council (WFC) is a nonprofit organization formed in 1972 to help increase public awareness of grains, complex carbohydrates, and fiber as essential components of a healthful diet. The Council is supported voluntarily by wheat producers, millers, and related industries. Contact:
Contact: Christine Cochran –
Anne Banville –