USDA Competitive Food Standards for
K – 12 Schools (Effective July, 2014)

usdaThe following mandatory standards will apply to snacks and side dishes sold to students outside the federally reimbursed school breakfast and lunch plans. The standards will apply from midnight before until 30 minutes after the official school day in public schools that participate in a federal school meal plan.

Nutrition Standards

Total Calories from Fat Calories from Saturated Fat Total Sugar by Weight
≤ 35% < 10% ≤ 35%


Trans Fat Sodium Calories
< .5g per portion; 35% ≤ mg per item
≤ 200 mg as of July 1, 2016
≤ 200 per item

Additional Requirements

In addition to meeting all of the nutrition standards listed above, a competitive food item must:

  1. Be a grain product that contains 50% or more whole grains by weight or have whole grains as their first ingredient*; or
  2. Have as the first Ingredient* one of the non-grain main food groups: fruits, vegetables, dairy, or protein foods (meat, beans, poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, etc.); or
  3. Be a combination food that contains at least 1/4 cup fruit and/or vegetable; or
  4. Contain 10% of the Daily Value (DV) of a nutrient of public health concern (i.e., calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or dietary fiber). Effective July 1, 2016 this criterion is obsolete and may not be used to qualify as a competitive food.*If water is the first ingredient, the second ingredient must be on of the above.


  • Reduced fat cheese; nuts, seeds and nut/seed butters; and product consisting of only dried fruit with nuts and/or seeds with no added nutritive sweeteners or fats are exempt from the total calories from fat and calories from saturated fat limits.
  • Dried/dehydrated fruits and vegetables are exempt from the sugar by weight limit.

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