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Sodium in the News
USDA Issues Proposed Rule to Improve School Meals
On January 13, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published in the Federal Register (76 FR 2494) a proposed rule to improve nutrition standards for meals served through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The proposed rule, Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, would increase fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and low-fat milk availability at school and limit the amount of saturated fat, sodium, calories, and trans fats in school meals. The proposed requirements are based on recommendations in an October 2009 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children.
According to the proposed rule, the USDA guidelines would, among other things:
Establish calorie limits for school meals.
Gradually reduce the amount of sodium in school meals over the 10 years following publication of the final rule.
Ban most trans fats.
Increase servings of fruits and vegetables.
According to the School Nutrition Dietary Assessment (SNDA) III study; the average sodium content of school lunches (for all schools) is more than 1400 mg. The IOM recommended a gradual reduction in sodium over time. Final targets for sodium in school breakfast and lunch meals include –
< 430 mg for breakfast and < 640 mg sodium for lunch meals for K – 5 grades.
< 470 mg for breakfast and < 710 mg sodium for lunch meals for 6 – 8 grades.
< 500 mg for breakfast and < 740 mg sodium for lunch meals for 9 – 12 grades.
Interim sodium reduction targets and information on other requirements may be found in the proposed rule: Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. USDA is soliciting input on the proposed rule until April 2011.
Walmart Launches Healthy Food Initiative
During a January 20th press conference, Walmart executives and First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled an initiative to improve the nutritional quality of food products sold in Walmart stores.
As part of the initiative, Walmart pledged to reduce sodium by 25 percent in key categories of food products by 2015. Key product categories for sodium reduction include: grain products, meats, dairy products, sauces and condiments, snacks, and prepared packaged foods.
Five key elements of the Initiative were outlined including –Reformulate key categories of packaged food items to reduce sodium by 25 percent, reduce added sugars by 10 percent, and remove all remaining industrially produced trans fats by 2015; Make healthier choices more affordable through sourcing, pricing, and transportation and logistics initiatives to drive down costs, and reduce or eliminate the price premium on more healthful items such as foods that are reduced sodium; Develop criteria for a front-of-package seal;Provide solutions to address food deserts by building stores in underserved communities; and Increase charitable support for nutrition programs.
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Last modified on: 2/13/2012 3:04 PM