The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday clarified that despite some recent press reports, it has not imposed any restrictions on school bake sales.
USDA said that some reports have indicated that the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 has essentially outlawed bake sales and raise money for schools by selling baked goods and other sweets.
But in a Friday blog post, USDA Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon said the law does not ban these activities.
“USDA has given states complete authority to set policies on fundraisers and bake sales that work for them,” he wrote. “States are free to allow fundraisers and bake sales featuring foods and beverages that don’t meet the new standards during the school day if they choose.”
“They, not USDA, are responsible for determining the number and the frequency of these events each year,” he added.
To implement the 2010 law, USDA released regulations last year on “Smart Snacks in School,” which require schools to limit junk food options for kids while in school. But USDA stressed then that these requirements only apply to food that schools sell to students at school.
“It is important to note that USDA has no role in regulating foods brought from home,” USDA explained. “The standards do not apply to any foods brought to school in bagged lunches, or for birthday parties and special events, including after-school bake sales and fundraisers.”
Concannon’s post also said food sold after school or on the weekends, such as at sporting events, don’t have to meet the Smart Snack standards.
He stressed that one of the goals of the standards is to improve the quality of food sold in school vending machines, which is said is “important work” given the growing obesity crisis among children.
“Two-thirds of adults and one-third of children are overweight or obese,” he wrote. “One in five young adults is too overweight to serve in the military.”