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Federal Meal Changes Enacted at Beginning of 2012-2013 School Year

For Immediate Release: October 16, 2012
Contact: Lynne Richmond  
(609) 633-2954

(MONTCLAIR) – New Jersey Department of Agriculture officials today joined a panel of second-grade students at Charles H. Bullock Elementary School in Montclair in sampling new school lunch menu items that meet healthier federal guidelines enacted this school year.  The group tasted vegetarian chili, garbanzo bean salad and fresh berries.

“School students are finding a wide variety of healthy, appealing lunch choices in their cafeterias, including more fruits and vegetables,” said Rose Tricario, Director of the Division of Food and Nutrition in the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.  “Congratulations to Montclair schools and their food service provider, Chartwells, for making good nutrition a priority.”

Photo of Bullock School students at the tasting table
Rose Tricario and Nancy Quinn, Vice President, Mid-Atlantic Region for Chartwells School Dining Services, with students at the tasting table.

The federal Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act school lunch regulations require more fruits and vegetables and whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk, fat-free flavored milk and strict limits on saturated fat and portion size.

Montclair has had a commitment to making the offerings in their school cafeterias healthier, according to district Food Service Director Sean Walsh, of Chartwells School Dining Services.  They serve 100 percent whole grains; only use milk and meat without hormones; hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners have been eliminated; there are fresh fruit and vegetable bars in every school; cold cuts are low sodium and low or zero nitrates; the use of turkey meat in place of beef has been increased; there are more homemade, made from scratch items; no processed chicken nuggets or patties, only fresh, whole chicken products; the turkey on the deli bars is made from whole, raw turkey breasts, baked and sliced; and there are daily salad and vegetarian offerings in all schools.

“Montclair believes healthy options should be available to all children and it is our responsibility to integrate nutritious meals into their way of life,” said Walsh. 
“Through the diminished use of processed foods, increased ‘homemade’ cooking from scratch using the freshest ingredients available, the development of great tasting kid friendly vegetarian options and the commitment to educate and expose our children to all types of foods, will lead to an improved healthy lifestyle for the entire community.” 

Today’s visit was part of National School Lunch Week, a program of the National School Nutrition Association. More than 687,000 children in New Jersey eat school lunch on a daily basis.

For more information about the new federal meal guidelines, visit