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    Smart Snacks: Competitive Food Nutritional Standards

    Definition of Competitive Foods

    Competitive foods and beverages are those that are sold to students on school campus, during the school day, outside of and in competition with the federally reimbursable meal programs. Examples of competitive foods and beverages include those sold during the school day in vending machines (that are not reimbursable meals), snack bars, á la carte items sold by the school food service department, or as fundraisers.

    When Competitive Food and Beverage Nutrition Standards Apply
    The Competitive Food and Beverage Nutrition Standards apply only to food and/or beverages sold during the school day on the school campus. CEs may establish local policies or rules that are more restrictive than Texas or USDA regulations as long as those policies and rules are not in conflict with Texas or USDA regulations.

    Definition for Transactions that Constitute a Sale. Sale of a food and/or beverage includes all direct or indirect sales such as (1) cash or credit transactions; (2) tokens, tickets, or other representations of value in exchange for cash or credit that a student may use to purchase food and/or beverages; or (3) food and/or beverages given to students in exchange for donations, whether those donations occur by cash or credit. If a student receives a food and/or beverage as a result of any form of payment, donation, or other contribution, the food and/or beverage item must meet the Competitive Food and Beverage Nutrition Standards.

    Food and/or beverages Given to Students. If a student is given food and/or beverage items at no charge (no form of payment, donation, or other contribution exchanged for the item), these items are not subject to the Competitive Food and Beverage Nutrition Standards. Food given to students is a transaction that does not result from a payment, donation of funds, or a contribution of value by the student or parent. Food Provided by Parents or Guardians. Food provided by parents or guardians is considered to be food given to students and is not subject to the Competitive Food and Beverage Nutrition Standards.3
    Accompaniments or Condiments. An accompaniment or condiment intended to be used with a competitive beverage and/or food item is considered to be part of the competitive food and/or beverage item—even if the accompaniment or condiment is provided at a different location in the serving area.4

    Food and/or beverages Purchased with Classroom Funds. When the parents of students in a classroom agree to donate funds toward the purchase of treats to be shared by all children in the classroom for special occasions, food and beverage items served are not subject to the Competitive Food and Beverage Nutrition Standards.

    Food and/or beverages Purchased with Tickets or Tokens Given as a Reward. If a ticket or token is given to a student for good behavior or good grades—i.e., a behavioral or performance award—and no money or other form of payment is exchanged in order to acquire the ticket or token, the exchange of the reward ticket or token is not considered a sale to the student.

    Exceptions to the Competitive Food and Beverage Nutrition Standards
    Food and/or beverages sold or served in the following special situations are not required to meet the Competitive Food and Beverage Nutrition Standards:
    Accommodating Students with Special Needs. The requirements in this section do not apply to special needs students whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) plan indicates the use of a food and/or beverage item of any type for behavior modification (or other suitable need).

    School Nurses. The requirements in this section do not apply to school nurses or another school official permitted by local policy to assist school nurses using a food and/or beverage item of any type during the course of providing health care to individual students.

    Competitions and Other Events. The requirements in this section do not apply to any location students travel to for competitions or other events if a school nutrition program (SNP) does not provide the students with meals as long as the competitive or event location is not an extended area of a school campus that operates NSLP or SBP.

    Food and/or Beverages Brought from Home or Food Given to Students. The Competitive Food and Beverage Nutrition Standards do not restrict (1) food and/or beverages that parents provide for their own children’s lunches or snacks or (2) food and/or beverages that are given to students. This includes, but is not limited to, food and/or beverages provided for birthday parties or special events.

    Food Sold During the School Day Not Intended for Consumption in Schools.
    Competitive Food and Beverage Nutrition Standards do not apply to fundraising activities that include the ordering and distribution of food and/or beverages not intended to be consumed during the school day on the school campus. This includes ordering food items that will be picked up a later time in the future. Typically, these food items need further preparation before they can be served.
    For Example: Cookie dough or frozen sausage.

    Compliance
    TDA will assess compliance with Competitive Food and Beverage Nutrition Standards during an administrative review (AR) or at other times as appropriate. TDA’s assessment will include an analysis of food and/or beverage items sold in competition with reimbursable meals.
     
    TDA will take fiscal action, as appropriate, for the following violations:
    Not meeting the Competitive Food and Beverage Nutrition Standards
    Inadequate or unavailable documentation related to competitive foods

    More program information can be found at:  www.squaremeals.org

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