Competitive Foods in Schools


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Competitive foods are foods and beverages available for sale to students on school premises, separately from reimbursable meals and Afterschool Snack Program (ASP) snacks served through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Child Nutrition Programs (CNPs). Under Section 10-215b-1 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, competitive foods also include candy, coffee, tea, and soft drinks that are given to students on school premises from 30 minutes before up through 30 minutes after the operation of any CNPs. 

  • Sales means the exchange of a determined amount of money or its equivalent (such as coupons, tickets, tokens, and similar items) for foods and beverages. Sales also include programs and activities that charge a fee that includes the cost of foods and beverages provided to students, and activities that suggest a student donation in exchange for foods and beverages. Under Connecticut’s statutes and regulations for competitive foods, sales include coupons and similar items that are given to students (such as food rewards) and can be exchanged for foods and beverages. However, the USDA's Smart Snacks nutrition standards do not apply when coupons and similar items are given to students.
  • School premises include all areas of the property under the jurisdiction of the local or regional board of education, the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System (CTECS), and the governing authority district or school. 

Federal and state laws require that competitive foods available for sale to students on school premises must comply with nutrition standards and other restrictions.

Summary of Requirements for Competitive Foods

The chart below summarizes the federal (USDA) and state laws for competitive foods. Some laws apply differently to public schools, private schools, and residential child care institutions (RCCIs). Some laws apply during the school day, while others apply at all times or during the operation of  CNPs. When the federal and state laws supersede each other, the stricter requirements apply. The resources below describe each law and when it applies.

For guidance and resources on complying with each law,
go to the Documents/Forms section in the left navigation bar.

State and Federal Laws for Competitive Foods Does the law apply?
Public schools Private schools RCCIs
State: C.G.S. Section 10-215f: Certification that food meets nutrition standards – Healthy Food Certification (HFC) yes 1 no no
State: C.G.S. Section 10-215e: Nutrition standards for food that is not part of lunch or breakfast program – Connecticut Nutrition Standards (CNS) yes 2 no no
State: C.G.S. Section 10-221q: Sale of beverages yes 3  no no
State: C.G.S.Section 10-221p: Nutritious and low-fat foods available for sale yes 3  no no
State: Section 10-215b-1 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies: Competitive foods (candy, coffee, tea, and soft drinks) yes 4 yes 4 yes 4
State: Section 10-215b-23 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies: Accrual of Income yes 4 yes 4 yes 4
Federal (USDA): Smart Snacks Nutrition Standards (USDA Final Rule 81 FR 50131) yes 4 yes 4 yes 4
Federal (USDA): School Wellness Policy (USDA Final Rule 81 FR 50151) yes 4 yes 4 yes 4
Federal (USDA): Revenue from Nonprogram Foods (7 CFR 210.14 (f)) yes 4 yes 4 yes 4
1  Applies to all public schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
2  The CNS applies only to public schools that choose the healthy food option of HFC. Public
    schools are not required to comply with the CNS, but must certify annually
    whether they will or will not comply with the CNS as required by C.G.S. Section 10-215f.
3  Applies to all public schools, even if they do not choose the healthy food option of
    HFC or do not participate in the NSLP.
4  Applies to all schools and institutions that participate in the NSLP and SBP.