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Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value

Nutrition Services Division

To: School Nutrition Program Sponsors, County and District Superintendents

Number: 05-110

Attention: Business Officials, Food Service Directors

Date: June 2005

Subject: Federal Policy and Requirements Related to Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value

Reference: United States Department of Agriculture APB: SP-01-04, Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 210 and 215

This Management Bulletin transmits information that contains the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) clarification of the federal policy on the sale and service of foods of minimal nutritional value (FMNV). The California Department of Education (CDE) did not disseminate this information when it was originally received, but the CDE is now establishing policy based on this memorandum and will begin monitoring school districts for compliance with this policy during the 2005-06 school year.

In general, the USDA prohibits the sale of FMNV (e.g., carbonated beverages [with some exceptions], water ices, chewing gum, and candies made predominantly from sugar and corn syrup) during meal periods anywhere reimbursable meals are sold or eaten. To the extent that schools lack a cafeteria or students eat their reimbursable meals anywhere on campus, FMNV may not be sold anywhere on the campus during the meal period. Information on the exemptions are provided in the third attachment of this management bulletin (at the bottom of the page) and can also be obtained on the following page:

In summary, the attached information contains federal policy that:

The USDA requires state and local educational agencies to establish rules and regulations to control the sale of FMNV in competition with school meals. While California has enacted legislation that prohibits schools with pupils in kindergarten through sixth grade from selling carbonated beverages regardless of the time of day and middle/junior high schools from selling carbonated beverages anywhere on campus for one-half hour before to one-half hour after the school day, California also must restrict the sale of all FMNV during meal periods where reimbursable meals are sold or eaten in all grade levels in order to comply with the USDA policy.

Please note that the local school wellness policy, required to be developed by each school district and implemented by the school year beginning after July 2006, must include the district's plan for complying with the USDA's FMNV requirements, since federal law specifies that "the nutrition guidelines for school meals that are to be included in the wellness policy cannot be less restrictive than federal policy." Federal law also requires that districts designate at least one person to oversee the activities and ensure that schools meet the local wellness policy provisions.

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Governor, and members of the Legislature are working to extend to high schools the current ban on carbonated beverages being sold on kindergarten through eighth grade campuses. Additional information will be provided should newly proposed legislation become law.

If you have any questions, please contact your Nutrition Services Division representative in the Field Services Unit at 916-445-0850 or 800-952-5609. You also may contact Mike Danzik, Nutrition Education Specialist, at 916-445-7346 or

  1. Categories of Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value
    Appendix B to Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR) Part 210 and 220.
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture APB: SP-01-04
    SA-9-1-GEN: National School Lunch Program/School Breakfast Program - foods of minimal nutritional value.
  3. Exemptions Under the Competitive Foods Regulation
    Products identified by the USDA that are not considered to be FMNV and can therefore be sold during the meal period in a school food service area.
Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
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