In an effort to improve school nutrition environments, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) amended the Food of Minimal Nutritional Value Policy effective August 1, 2003.

    The amended FMNV policy has three parts as follows:

    1. An elementary school campus may not serve or provide access for students to FMNV at any time anywhere on school premises during the school day.

      Schools must prevent students from accessing FMNV on school premises. Such food and beverages may not be sold or given away on school premises by the school, school or non-school organizations, teachers, parents, or any other person or group during the school day.
    1. A middle school campus may not serve or provide access for students to FMNV anywhere on school premises during meal periods (breakfast, lunch and snack.)
    2. In addition, a middle school campus may not serve or provide access for students to prohibited carbonated beverages with volumes in excess of 12 ounces anywhere on school premises during the school day.

    Penalties for Violation of FMNV Policy

    The TDA will aggressively enforce and diligently monitor this policy to ensure continued compliance. When violations of this policy are noted the TDA will disallow all meal reimbursement for the day and require the school to reimburse the food service account for the lost reimbursement.

    Restricted Foods

    The foods that are restricted from sale or distribution to students are classified in these four categories:

    • Soda Water—any carbonated beverage. No product shall be excluded from this definition because it contains discrete nutrients added to the food such as vitamins, minerals, and protein.
    • Water Ices—any frozen, sweetened water such as "...sicles" and flavored ice with the exception of products that contain fruit or fruit juice.
    • Chewing Gum—any flavored products from natural or synthetic gums and other ingredients that form an insoluble mass for chewing.  
    • Certain Candies—any processed foods made predominantly from sweeteners or artificial sweeteners with a variety of minor ingredients that characterize the following types:

      Hard Candy
      —A product made predominantly from sugar (sucrose) and corn syrup that may be flavored and colored, is characterized by a hard, brittle texture and includes such items as sour balls, lollipops, fruit balls, candy sticks, starlight mints, after dinner mints, jaw breakers, sugar wafers, rock candy, cinnamon candies, breath mints, and cough drops.

    Jellies and Gums—A mixture of carbohydrates that are combined to form a stable gelatinous system of jelly like character and are generally flavored and colored, and include gum drops, jelly beans, jellied and fruit-flavored slices.

    Marshmallow Candies—An aerated confection composed of sugar, corn syrup, invert sugar, 20 percent water, and gelatin or egg white to which flavors and colors may be added.

    Fondant—A product consisting of microscopic-sized sugar crystals that are separated by a thin film of sugar and/or invert sugar in solution such as candy corn, soft mints.

    Licorice—A product made predominantly from sugar and corn syrup that is flavored with an extract made from the licorice root.

    Spun Candy—A product that is made from sugar that has been boiled at high temperature and spun at a high speed in a special machine.

    Candy Coated Popcorn—Popcorn that is coated with a mixture made predominantly from sugar and corn syrup.

    Examples of foods that are restricted from sale and distribution to students include, but are not limited to:

    Life Savers, Peppermints, Lemon Drops, Jolly Ranchers, Snow Cones, Cracker Jacks, Skittles, Sprees, Jelly Beans, Marshmallows, Cotton Candy, Gummy Bears, Red Hots, Jaw Breakers, Sours, any carbonated beverage.

    Nonrestricted Foods:

    Ice cream, ice milk, and water ices that include fruit or fruit juice, chips, candies that contain nuts, peanut butter, caramel, coconut, nougat centers, milk-based fillings or other similar ingredients

    Examples of nonrestricted foods: Milky Ways, Hershey, Fritos and other chips, popcorn, etc.

    Amended FMNV Policy Questions and Answers:

    1.      Do vending machines have to be relocated or removed from the school? No, the policy does not address vending machines or other methods of service and does not require that schools remove or relocate vending machines. If vending machines are located in an area that is accessible to students they may be re-stocked with more nutritious items, such as water, juice or sports drinks that are not prohibited by the policy.

    2.      May a student bring prohibited FMNV from home? This policy does not address a student bringing such items to school as long as the student is not selling, or providing the items to other students. However, the school is encouraged to prohibit this by local policy.

    3.      Does this policy cover sales or give away by teachers, school organizations or other individuals? Yes, in elementary schools the policy prohibits the sale or give away of prohibited food and beverages by anyone or any organization, anywhere on school premises during the school day. Middle school campuses may not serve or provide access to FMNV anywhere on school premises during meal periods.

    4.      If meals are prepared for student field trips, may FMNV be provided on the bus? No, during a field trip the bus becomes an extension of the school and FMNV may not be made available.

    5.      Does this policy include sports drinks, tea, or other similar beverages? No, the policy only covers prohibited carbonated beverages. Sports drinks, bottled waters, and tea are not carbonated and therefore not covered by the policy.

    Texas Public School Nutrition Policy Clarifications
    Updated: August 15, 2007

    The Texas Department of Agriculture issued the revised Texas Public School Nutrition Policy, which was effective beginning August 1, 2007. There have been a number of questions and comments concerning the intent of various sections of the policy. We appreciate the input and feedback from parents, teachers and administrators and are providing the following clarifications to assist Texas school districts in understanding and implementing the policy.

    The health of our children is of utmost importance to all of us, and we believe these clarifications will help improve nutrition while at the same time recognizing the vital role parent's play in the education of their children.

    1. Classroom Birthday Parties

    TDA recognizes that celebrating student birthdays with a classroom party is a time-honored tradition that provides the opportunity for parental involvement in the education of their children, which is beneficial for students, parents and teachers. Foods otherwise restricted by the policy are permitted in classroom student birthday parties. It is recommended such parties be scheduled after the end of the lunch period for the class so that these celebrations will not replace a nutritious lunch. Federal regulations do not permit foods of minimal nutritional value to be served in the food service area during meal periods. 

    2. Competitive Foods for Elementary Schools

    The competitive foods policy section for elementary schools states that it does "not pertain to food items made available by the school food service department." This does not mean, however, that dessert-type items (cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, etc.) are allowable outside meal hours simply if provided by the food service department. The intent of the policy is to encourage the consumption of nutritious food by students and to limit access to high-fat, high-sugar items during the school day. Therefore, the only food that may be made available to elementary school students on campus during the school day, at times other than meal periods, is a nutritious classroom snack allowed by the policy. This does not apply to student birthday parties or any other exemption as established by the policy.   

    3. Pizza Parties, etc.

    The intent of the policy is to encourage the consumption of nutritious, well-balanced meals and to limit the availability of high-fat items during the school day.  There has been confusion about pizza or other foods being served at school parties.  With the exception of school birthday parties, schools may not allow alternative meals (pizza, BBQ, sandwiches, etc.) to be provided to students in competition with meals made available by the school food service department under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.  Administrators should work in conjunction with their school food service department when planning special events or meals.

    4. Use of Fryers for On-Site Preparation

    The fats and fried foods section of the Texas Public School Nutrition Policy states,  "Schools must eliminate deep-fat frying as a method of on-site preparation for foods served as part of reimbursable school meals and a la carte."  It also states, "Schools that must make extensive equipment or facility changes must be in compliance by the 2009-10 school year." 

    The intent of the policy is to eliminate deep fat frying as a method of preparation and to promote other cooking methods that result in healthier foods.  Schools that have the capability to stop frying must do so.  The intent of the extended period to comply is to give only schools, which need "extensive equipment or facility changes" the time to make those changes.  In this case, the school must be able to show that they are working towards eliminating the use of their fryers for on-site preparation.

    Schools may keep fryers in their kitchen for only non-school meal purposes, such as catering.  If you do not use the old fryers for any purpose, please check with your local health department for their policy regarding unused equipment in kitchens. 

    All schools that participate in the federal school meals programs must eliminate deep fat frying as a method of on-site school meal preparation by August 1, 2009.

    5. Grain/Bread Exemption During Breakfast

    Items included in reimbursable meals must meet all the TPSNP guidelines, except the restrictions of the TPSNP portion and nutrient guidelines chart.

    The sale of individual items included as part of a reimbursable meal may only occur when the item meets all guidelines of the TPSNP with the following exception.

    Cookies, cereal bars and bakery items served during breakfast as part of the reimbursable meal, that do not meet the restrictions of the TPSNP portion and nutrient guidelines chart, may be sold individually or a la carte during the same breakfast meal service only if they equal 2 grain/bread servings for the reimbursable meal. 

    6. USDA Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value Exemption List

    USDA periodically provides a list of products that are exempt from the FMNV regulation.  However, foods that are exempt from the FMNV regulation are not equally exempt from the TPSNP.  Exempted foods must meet TPSNP standards in order to be served or provided to students of school campuses.