Competitive Foods in Schools


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HFC | CNS | Smart Snacks List of Acceptable Foods and Beverages

State and federal regulations govern the sale of competitive foods in schools. Competitive foods are any foods and beverages sold to students on school premises other than meals served through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) school nutrition programs. They include all foods and beverages available outside of school meals, such as cafeteria a la carte sales, vending machines, school stores, fundraisers, and any other entities selling foods and beverages to students. School premises include all areas of the property under the jurisdiction of the local or regional board of education, the regional vocational-technical school system, or the governing authority district or school.

Public schools, private schools, and residential child care institutions (RCCIs) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) must comply with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Smart Snacks nutrition standards. All schools and institutions must comply with the state competitive foods regulations. Public schools must also comply with the applicable Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) for foods and beverages. For more information, go to "Laws/Regulations" in the left navigation bar.

Connecticut Nutrition Standards (CNS)

Effective July 1, 2006, the CNS applies to all foods sold in public schools that choose the healthy food option of Healthy Food Certification (HFC) under C.G.S. Section 10-215f Opens in a new window. The CNS exceeds the USDA's Smart Snacks standards.

Smart Snacks

Effective July 1, 2014, the USDA's Smart Snacks nutrition standards apply to the sale of competitive foods to students in public schools, private schools, and RCCIs that participate in the NSLP and SBP. Smart Snacks applies to all areas of the school campus during the school day. Sale means the exchange of foods and beverages for a determined amount of money or its equivalent, such as tickets, coupons, tokens, and similar items. Sales also include any activities that suggest a student donation in exchange for foods and beverages. The school campus is all areas of the property under the jurisdiction of the school that are accessible to students during the school day. The school day is the period from midnight before to 30 minutes after the end of the official school day. For more information on Smart Snacks, visit the CSDE’s Smart Snacks webpage.

NOTE: Connecticut public school districts that choose the healthy food option of HFC under C.G.S. Section 10-215f Opens in a new window must meet the stricter CNS. The CSDE maintains a list of HFC districts for the current school year.