The U.S. poultry and meat industries got a piece of good news on January 2 when the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) decided to make permanent the current flexibility that allows schools to serve larger portions of lean proteins during school lunches and meals. The change to the USDA school lunch program was announced by Kevin Concannon, USDA undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services.

"Earlier this school year, USDA made a commitment to school nutrition professionals that we would make the meat and grain flexibility permanent and provide needed stability for long-term planning. We have delivered on that promise," said Concannon.


USDA has worked closely with schools and parents during the transition to healthier breakfasts, lunches and snacks. Based on public feedback, USDA has made a number of updates to school meal standards, including additional flexibility in meeting the daily and weekly ranges for grain and meat or meat alternatives, which has been available to schools on a temporary basis since 2012.