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Transitional Standards for Milk, Whole Grains and Sodium - Final Rule

Publication Date
Resource type
Final Rule
Comment Period End Date
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PDF Icon Fact Sheet (87.08 KB)

USDA is finalized its Nov. 25, 2020, proposed rulemaking regarding child nutrition meal pattern requirements. This rule will become effective July 1, 2022.

  • This final rule establishes transitional standards to support the continued provision of nutritious school meals as schools respond to and recover from the pandemic and while USDA engages in notice-and-comment rulemaking to update the meal pattern standards to more comprehensively reflect the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025.
  • This final rule provides immediate relief to schools during the return to traditional school meal service following extended use of COVID-19 meal pattern flexibilities.
  • This rule finalizes the proposed milk provision by allowing local operators of the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program to offer flavored, low-fat milk (1 percent fat) for students in grades K through 12 and for sale as a competitive beverage.
  • It also allows flavored, low-fat milk in the Special Milk Program for Children and in the Child and Adult Care Food Program for participants ages 6 and older. Beginning in SY 2022-2023, this final rule requires at least 80 percent of the weekly grains in the school lunch and breakfast menus to be whole grain-rich.
  • Lastly, this final rule will modify the proposed sodium standards and establish Sodium Target 1 as the sodium limit for school lunch and breakfast in SY 2022-2023 as proposed, but implement a Sodium Interim Target 1A effective for school lunch beginning in SY 2023-2024.

This final rule is effective July 1, 2022. Written comments on this final rule must be received on or before March 24, 2022, to receive consideration.


FNS invites interested persons to submit written comments on the provisions of this final rule. Interested persons are also invited to comment on considerations for future rulemaking related to the school nutrition requirements. In the coming months, the public will have an additional opportunity to comment when the FNS publishes a new proposed rule related to the school meal pattern requirements. Comments related to this final rule may be submitted in writing by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Send comments to Tina Namian, Chief, School Programs Branch, Policy and Program Development Division – 4th floor, Food and Nutrition Service, 1320 Braddock Place, Alexandria, VA 22314; telephone: 703-305-2590.

All written comments submitted in response to this final rule will be included in the record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that the substance of the comments and the identity of the individuals or entities submitting the comments will be subject to public disclosure. FNS will make the written comments publicly available on the Internet via


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Page updated: November 07, 2023