DoDEA's Student Meal Program
The DoD Student Meal Program follows the same USDA regulations and guidelines as schools throughout the United States for nutrition and meal components. School menus follow USDA nutritional requirements. Students who qualify under federal guidelines are provided free and reduced-price meals. Over 7 million meals are served annually in 185 DoDEA schools in schools throughout the United States and overseas.
On January 25, 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled new standards for school meals that will result in healthier meals for our students. The new requirements will raise nutrition standards for the first time in more than fifteen years and improve the health of nearly 32 million children that participate in school meal programs every school day. The healthier meal requirements are a key component of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by the First Lady as part of her Let's Move! campaign and signed into law by President Obama in December of 2010.
The nutrition standards will be phased in over a three-year period, starting in School Year 2012-13 and will include ensuring students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week and substantially increasing offerings of whole grain-rich foods. Schools will also only offer fat-free or low-fat milk varieties and saturated fat, trans fats and sodium will be reduced.
Nutrition and the meals served in our schools are very important issues to DoDEA and ones that we take seriously. In addition to the above nutrition changes, DoDEA has been spearheading a Food Transformation Task Force with USDA, Military Services, Navy Exchange (NEX), Army, Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), and Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) representatives in order to address a new direction for the DoD Student Meal Program.
The Student Meal Program in DoDEA schools overseas is operated through the Military Services. The Services appointed, as the school food authorities, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), now The Exchange, on Army and Air Force installations, the Navy Exchange (NEX) on naval bases and the Marines provide their own meals in Iwakuni. The school food authorities provide 27,000 student meals daily to DoDEA students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade throughout Europe and the Pacific.
The Student Meal Program in DoDEA schools in the United States is operated independently at each community by a Child Nutrition Director who oversees the cafeterias at each school.
Overseas schools will not see a price increase for the 2012-13 school year. Some stateside DoDEA schools prices will have to be increased to comply with federal regulations.