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Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value & Competitive Foods

Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value and Competitive Foods

Schools frequently call our office with questions concerning the sale of competitive foods; in particular, foods of minimal nutritional value.  The following, which is adapted from federal regulations, should help clarify this issue.

Competitive Foods:  Any foods sold in competition with the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs to children in food service areas during the breakfast and lunch periods. Competitive Foods may, at the discretion of the Local Education Agency (LEA), be sold in food service areas (where food is prepared, served, and eaten) during the meal periods only if all income from the sale of such foods accrues to the benefit of the nonprofit school food service or the school or student organizations approved by the school.  LEAs may impose additional restrictions on the sale of and income from all foods sold at any time throughout schools participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value:  in the case of artificially sweetened foods, a food which provides less than 5% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for  8 specified nutrients per serving; and in the case of all other foods, a food that provides less than 5% of the RDI for 8 specified nutrients per 100 calories and per serving. The eight nutrients to be assessed for this purpose are-protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin,thiamine, calcium, and iron.

Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value may not be sold in food service areas during the meal periods.  They are:

1)  Soda Water -- A class of beverages made by absorbing carbon dioxide in potable water.  The amount of carbon dioxide used is not less than that which will be absorbed by the beverage at a pressure of one atmosphere and at a temperature of 60 degrees Farenheit.  It either contains no alcohol or only such alcohol, not in excess of 0.5 percent by weight of the finished beverage, as is contributed by the flavoring ingredient used.  No product shall be excluded from this definition because it contains artificial sweetners or discrete nutrients added to the food such as vitamins, minerals and protein.

2)  Water Ices -- As defined by 21 CFR 135.160 Food and Drug Administration Regulations except that water ices which contain fruit or fruit juices are not included in this definition.

3)  Chewing Gum -- Flavored products from natural or synthetic gums and other ingredients which form an insoluble mass for chewing.

4)  Certain Candies -- Processed foods made predominantly from sweeteners or artificial sweeteners with a variety of minor ingredients which characterize the following types:

a)  Hard Candy -- A product made predominantly from sugar (sucrose) and corn syrup which may be flavored and colored, is characterized by a hard, brittle texture, and includes such items as sour balls, fruit balls, candy sticks, lollipops, starlight mints, after dinner mints, sugar wafers, rock candy, cinnamon candies, breath mints, jaw breakers and cough drops.

b)  Jellies and Gums -- A mixture of carbohydrates which are combined to form a stable gelatinous system of jelly-like character, and are generally flavored and colored, and include gum drops, jelly beans, jellied and fruit-flavored slices.

c)  Marshmallow Candies -- An aerated confection composed of sugar, corn syrup, invert sugar, 20 percent water and gelatin or egg white to which flavors and colors may be added.

d)  Fondant -- A product consisting of microscopic-sized sugar crystals which are separated by thin film of sugar and/or invert sugar in solution such as candy corn, soft mints.

e)  Licorice -- A product made predominantly from sugar and corn syrup which is flavored with an extract made from the licorice root.

f)  Spun Candy -- A product that is made from sugar that has been boiled at high temperature and spun at a high speed in a special machine.

g)  Candy Coated Popcorn -- Popcorn which is coated with a mixture made predominantly from sugar and corn syrup.