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ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION

ACTE Pushes for CTE Exemption in USDA Nutrition Regulations

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4/18/13

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ACTE Pushes for CTE Exemption in USDA Nutrition Regulations 

 Recently, ACTE provided comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding a proposed regulation that would establish national nutritional standards for all foods sold to students in schools. The proposed nutritional standards—authorized by section 208 of the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act—specifically address “competitive foods” that are sold in schools outside the school breakfast and lunch programs. Though intended to target foods sold in vending machines, al a carte lines and school stores, the stricter guidelines could impact CTE programs that have incorporate into their courses a school-based business that sells food. ACTE has been actively engaged in this issue since the law was originally proposed in Congress in 2010 as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to end childhood obesity.   

The proposed regulation that was released by the USDA does not specifically address the potential impact on CTE programs. The proposal does say that the nutritional standards apply to foods sold to students and not adult patrons, which was not included in the original statute but specifically pointed to as a concern by ACTE in previous communications with the department. 

Last week, ACTE, along with the National Association of State Directors for Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), sent a letter to the department as part of our ongoing effort to express the concerns of the CTE community on this issue. The letter also requests an exemption for CTE programs and those foods prepared and sold competitively for CTE instructional purposes.

The USDA will consider these comments in writing the final regulation, which will be announced in the coming months. ACTE and our partner organizations will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to raise awareness of the issue and to ensure the best outcome for CTE.

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