New USDA snack rules affecting school funding

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jakewhittenberg

KING5.com

Posted on May 14, 2014 at 6:15 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 14 at 10:40 AM

New federal school nutrition standards set to take affect on July 1 are having unintended consequences for some school groups.

The USDA Smart Snacks in School program is designed to reduce calorie, sodium and sugar intake among students. But the guidelines also would restrict school fundraisers in Washington State.

At Mukilteo's Harbour Pointe Middle School, parents are worried that the weekly fundraiser to support the PTO is in jeopardy.

"I appreciate what they're doing, but honestly this is too much," says Karla Davis, PTO president.

Davis and others run the cookie cart in the school cafeteria three days a week. Funds go to support school activities, buy supplies and recently purchase the electronic readerboard out front of the school. But the current recipe for the Otis Spunkmeyer cookies they sell are not healthy enough for the new USDA standards.

Without the cookie cart, an average of $16,000 in annual fundraising could do away.

"I feel like we need to teach children to make smart choices rather than make all the choices for them," Davis says. "Eliminating these hings all together and saying this is the only thing allowed is not the best avenue in my opinion."

The cookiemaker is now amending the recipe for the cookies to make them more healthy. But Davis and others worry the new less flavorful cookies will not be something kids will want to rush out and buy.

Districts across the country are feeling this new requirement. Seattle schools, which supports school stores to raise money for DECA and several Associated Student Body groups will also need to change what they offer to comply with the new USDA standards.

To learn more about what the USDA will require by July 1 in your child's school, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/smart-snacks-school
 

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