BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS – FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICES
MENU AND INGREDIENT GUIDELINES
SCHOOL YEAR 2022
The Boston Public Schools (BPS) Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) Menu and Ingredient Guidelines are the benchmarks for food quality, food safety, nutrition, and variety. They are applied primarily to menu development and procurement, and support the Nutrition Standard of Food and Nutrition Services. They pertain to all USDA programs administered by FNS.
FNS continuously monitors its work related to these Guidelines and updates them annually between school years. The Guidelines are, informed by sources of evidence-based research, and ad hoc related to ingredients and standards for operation.
FNS Menu and Ingredient Guidelines align with the Good Food Purchasing Program1 and continuously strive to meet the Menus of Change Principles of the Culinary Institute of America2. These values and principles, respectively, are embedded within the FNS Menu and Ingredient Guidelines.
The Menu and Ingredient Guidelines are grouped below under the following headings: A. Provide nourishing and culturally diverse food choices according to regulations; B. Offer variety of whole, fresh, local foods;
- Establish levels for some fats, sugar, sodium;
- Eliminate additives;
- Define animal welfare standards;
- Provide nourishing and culturally diverse food choices that meet or exceed USDA National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program guidelines as well as guidelines of Massachusetts Department of Public Health, City of Boston, and Boston Public Schools Wellness Policy.
FNS strictly follows or exceeds the USDA National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs Meal Pattern (attached) for the healthy meal choices that it offers and the frequency that choices are served.
For Boston schools:
- Menus follow at least a four-week cycle and continuously evolve for diversity, updates, variety and trends, reflecting student preferences.
- Menus for all three BPS food service models (cafeterias, My Way Café [MWC], satellite) are as much like each other as possible.
- Lunch menus have at least one vegetarian entrée daily and feature at least one vegan protein option per menu cycle during in-person meal service.2
- Offer a variety of whole foods that are fresh, high quality, emphasize local, and foods, as purchased, that retain most of their inherent physical, chemical, sensory and nutritional properties3. These foods should meet the food quality requirement as noted throughout these Guidelines.
- Menus favor local, seasonal ingredients. Local items are featured based on availability, primarily on salad bars, as well as one or more additional local meal components during the
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week, to include whole grains, fish, dairy, within budget parameters. Local, defined as New England, is intended to increase in volume, over time for all service models.2
- Menus offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.
o FNS offers at least two fruits (minimum one fresh; may also serve unsweetened canned/frozen, packed in its own juice, and dried fruit at breakfast and lunch)
o FNS offers at least three fresh vegetables and one fresh fruit daily at schools (MWC’s) with salad bars. Schools without salad bars offer a minimum of one or more fresh fruit and/or vegetable daily.2
o Frozen and canned vegetables (salt-free or low-sodium) may be served, as appropriate. o Legumes/beans are offered at a minimum of once per week at all sites for lunch.2
- Menus offer legumes and beans as a plant-based protein option to meet the meat alternate component requirements of meal pattern.2
- Menus will provide all of the weekly grains as whole grain-rich and offered in salad bars, sides, and entrees. Local whole grain-rich items will be featured.2
- Menus offer a variety of lean proteins, including animal and plant-based options (e.g. chicken, turkey, beef, fish, tofu, beans), seasoned at the school sites for cafeterias and My Way Cafes.
- Menus offer commercially-purchased whole muscle meat or entrees made from whole muscle meat, with no fillers.
- Beef is lean, USDA Grade Choice or better, and contains 100% beef, only.
- Eggs are USDA Grade A or equivalent and USDA inspected; frozen eggs are USDA inspected. ● Seafood must be U.S. Department of Commerce-inspected.
- FNS offers foods that have as little packaging as possible, with the goal of eliminating all but reasonable, necessary packaging. Packaged foods include those served selectively, at the discretion of FNS and primarily in settings that have no cooking equipment, for Breakfast in the Classroom, field trips, and occasionally for grab-and-go carts. Where possible, meals offered in the classroom, for field trips and on carts align with meals offered in dining rooms. FNS is moving away from unitized/packaged meals toward on-site meal preparation.
- Decrease the amount of saturated fat, monitor added sugar and excess sodium
- Menu choices favor entrees that are low in saturated fat (less than 10% based on the average for a 5-day menu week).
- Healthy oil(s) are used in most food preparation.2,4 Butter is used sparingly.
- All liquid milk is rBGH-free.
- All dairy is low fat (1%) or non-fat (skim), excluding butter. Butter is used sparingly.
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- FNS currently observes USDA Target 1 sodium limits.2
oIn line with the Federal rules, on or before school year 2024-2025, FNS intends to decrease average daily sodium levels to reach Target 2 standards established by the USDA Final Rule “Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs (1/26/12)”.
- Added sugar content is monitored by following the below guidelines, with the aim to decrease daily added sugar intake.2
o Cereal may contain no more than 6 gm added sugar (1.5 teaspoons) (for 1 grain equivalent) and must be identical nutritional/ingredients with retail product
o Breakfast grain/grain components may contain up to 8 gm (2 teaspoons) added sugar. o For two grain equivalents, there will be no more than 14 gm (4.5 teaspoons) added sugar.
o Yogurt may have 15 gm of added sugar (4.5+teaspoons) or less per serving.
- Beverages may include fruit-infused water at hydration stations in school dining rooms.2 D. Eliminate additives and ingredients that aren’t needed for product integrity.
- The following unnecessary or unnatural ingredients are prohibited from menu items. Additives and ingredients will be monitored and adjusted according to evidence-based research: o Artificial colors (including synthetic food dyes)5-12
▪ Caramel color class III and IV avoided in beverages, food, and sauces. Caramel color class IV may be featured in gravies, which are used sparingly.
o Artificial flavors (artificial synthetic flavors)6,14
o Artificial preservatives (benzoates, BHA/BHT/TBHQ; nitrates/nitrites; propyl gallate)6,15-22
o Artificial sweeteners (non-nutritive sweeteners: sucralose, aspartame, saccharine, Neotame, acesulfarm k [acesulfame potassium])23-26
o Flavor enhancers (GMP, MSG)6,27
o Binders and Fillers (isolate vegetable proteins and hydrolyzed vegetable protein as filler)6, 34-36
o High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)6, 28(Excludes canned USDA legumes and beans containing HFCS. Canned legumes or beans must be rinsed before use.)
o Partially hydrogenated oils; trans fats29
o Unnecessary flour conditioners (azodicarbonamide, bleached flour, bromated flour [potassium bromate], potassium iodate)6, 30-33
o Rendered meat, irradiated meat, meat with latent Tfg-beta binding protein (LTBP)* o Ammonium hydroxide, vegetable protein analogues or extenders
- Work toward procurement of animals untreated with hormones, steroids, or antibiotics that serve no vital function.
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- Due to growing concerns of animal husbandry practices, FNS supports responsible use of antibiotics in animals.2
o Menu features poultry raised without the use of antibiotics ever.
o Menu features entrees utilizing chicken products following One Health Certified (OHC) standards.37 OHC addresses several important areas of animal agriculture within a sustainable continuous improvement process.
o Menu features turkey products produced under a USDA process verified program that includes compliance with the following Certified Responsible Antibiotic Use (CRAU) criteria38:
- No administration of antibiotics pre-hatch
- Antibiotics with analogues in human medicine are not allowed for:
- Disease prevention
- Growth promotion
- Feed efficiency, or
- Weight gain
- Antibiotics with human analogs can only be used therapeutically to:
- Treat disease in poultry with bacterial disease;
- Control disease in poultry exposed to infectious bacteria
- FNS is opposed to the use of hormones and steroid growth promoters in beef and dairy cattle production. FNS continues to research food products from beef or dairy cattle produced without hormone growth promoters and grass-fed products as options become available. FNS currently prioritizes gluten-free and soy-free beef options.
- FNS acknowledges some USDA commodity products (beef, dairy and poultry) are purchased without the transparency of animal practices, and therefore, FNS limits how often these products are served. USDA commodity proteins may be made from whole muscle meat or restructured meat*.
- Other guidelines are observed as follows:
- All school dining areas are peanut aware. No school kitchens will serve peanuts or tree nuts. ● All milk is unflavored. No flavored milk will be offered.
- FNS accommodates students with medically-prescribed dietary requirements.
Given current supply chain shortages, FNS will do its best to fully adhere to all guidelines, but may need to make minor, well-considered adjustments from time to time. Daily cooking will take place in schools with fresh, local ingredients and healthy recipes; however, we are facing unprecedented issues with the supply chain that will undoubtedly cause alterations to menus. FNS is working closely with distributors and manufacturers to secure both food and supply items needed to support our continuous cooking on site.
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1 Center for Good Food Purchasing. https://goodfoodpurchasing.org. Last reviewed 2020. Accessed January 26, 2020.
2 Menus of Change. https://www.menusofchange.org.Last reviewed 2021. Accessed May 14, 2021.
3Michigan State University. What is a processed food?
4American Heart Association. Healthy Cooking Oils.
https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/healthy-cooking-oils. Last reviewed April 24, 2018. Accessed January 14, 2020.
5 American Heart Association. Children should eat less than 25 grams of added sugars daily. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/children-should-eat-less-than-25-grams-of-added-sugars-daily
6 Center for Science in the Public Interest. Chemical Cuisine, Learn About Food Additives. https://cspinet.org/eating-healthy/chemical-cuisine. Published 2014. Accessed June 26, 2019.
7 Kobylewski S, Jacobson MF. Food dyes: A Rainbow of Risks. Washington D.C.; 2010. https://cspinet.org/new/pdf/food-dyes-rainbow-of-risks.pdf.
8 Lefferts LY, Jacobson MF, MacCleery L. Seeing Red: Time for Action in Food Dyes. Washington D.C.; 2016. http://cspinet.org/reports/seeing-red-report.pdf.
9 Conners CK, Goyette CH, Southwick DA, Lees JM, Andrulonis PA. Food additives and hyperkinesis: a controlled double-blind experiment. Pediatrics. 1976;58(2):154-166.
10 Stevenson J, Buitelaar J, Cortese S, et al. Research review: the role of diet in the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder—an appraisal of the evidence on efficacy and recommendations on the design of future studies. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2014;55(5):416-427. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12215.
11 Bateman B, Warner JO, Hutchinson E, et al. The effects of a double blind, placebo controlled, artificial food colourings and benzoate preservative challenge on hyperactivity in a general population sample of preschool children. Arch Dis Child. 2004; 89:506-511. doi:10.1136/adc.2003.031435.
12 McCann D, Barrett A, Cooper A, et al. Food additives and hyperactive behavior in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo- controlled trial. Lancet. 2007;370(9598):1560-1567. doi:10.1016/ S0140-6736(07)61306-3.
13 Saeed MG, Sayeed SA, Ashraf S, et al. Investigations of In vitro Digestibility of Proteins Bound to Food Colors. Journal of Pharmacy and Nutrition Sciences. 2011, 1, 34-40.
14 USDA Food and Drug Administration D of H and HS. Specific Food Labeling Requirements. Code of Federal Regulations.
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15 Piper, P. Potential safety issues surrounding the use of benzoate preservatives. Beverages. 2018;4(2):33. doi: 10.3390/beverages4020033.
16 NTP (National Toxicology Program). 2016. Report on Carcinogens, Fourteenth Edition.; Research Triangle Park, NC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service. https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/roc14.
17Jakszyn P, Gonzalez C-A. Nitrosamine and related food intake and gastric and esophageal cancer risk: a systematic review of the epidemiological evidence. World J Gastroenterol. 2006;12(27):4296-4303. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16865769.
18 Alhoff J, Grandjean C. In vivo studies in Syrian golden hamsters: a transplacental bioassay of ten nitrosamines. Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 1979;(51):251-255.
19International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). IARC Monographs evaluate consumption of red meat and processed meat. 2015. doi: https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf.
20 National Toxicology Program. Carcinogenesis Bioassay of Propyl Gallate in F344 Rats and B6C3F1 Mice. Bethesda; 1982. https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/htdocs/lt_rpts/tr240.pdf.
21 Ham J, Lim W, Park S, et al. Synthetic phenolic antioxidant propyl gallate induces male infertility through disruption of calcium homeostasis and mitochondrial function. Environ Pollut.2019 May; 248:845-856. Doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2019.02.087.
22 Abdo KM, Kari FW. The sensitivity of the NTP bioassay for carcinogen hazard evaluation can be modulated by dietary restriction. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 1996;48(2-3):129-137. doi: 10.1016/S0940-2993(96)80033-9.
23 Soffritti M, Belpoggi F, Degli Esposti D, Lambertini L, Tibaldi E, Rigano A. First experimental demonstration of the multipotential carcinogenic effects of aspartame administered in the feed to Sprague-Dawley rats. Environ Health Perspect. 2006;114(3):379-385.
24 Schernhammer ES, Bertrand KA, Birmann BM, Sampson L, Willett WC, Feskanich D. Consumption of artificial sweetener-and sugar-containing soda and risk of lymphoma and leukemia in men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;96(6):1419-1428. doi:10.3945/ajcn.111.030833.
25 M. S, M. P, E. T, et al. Sucralose administrated in feed, beginning prenatally through lifespan, induces hematopoietic neoplasias in male swiss mice. Int J Occup Environ Health. 2016;22(1):7-17. doi: 10.1080/10773525.2015.1106075.
26 Liauchonak I, Qorri B, Dawoud F, Riat Y, Szewczuk MR. Non-Nutritive Sweeteners and Their Implications on the Development of Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients. 2019; 11(3):644.
27 Raiten DJ, Talbot JM, Fisher KD. Executive summary from the report: analysis of adverse reactions to monosodium glutamate (MSG). J Nutr. 1995;125(11):2891S-2906S.
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28 Bray GA, Nielsen SJ, Popkin BM. Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play July 2019 a role in the epidemic of obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004; 79(4):537-543.
29 American Heart Association. Trans Fats.
30 US Food and Drug Administration. Frequently Asked Questions on Azodicarbonamide (ADA). http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/FoodAdditivesIngredients/ucm387497.htm.
31 Bukhari SSI, Azam I, Abbasi MH, Daud M, Sheikh N, Batool A, Mahmood R, and Mukhtar M. Effect of Alloxan on IL-6 Gene Expression in Mus musulus. Biologia (Pakistan). 2018; 64(1):69-73. https://www.gcu.edu.pk/Publications/Biologia/Vol64_No1_2018.pdf#page=65.
32International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Summaries & Evaluations Potassium Bromate (Group 2B). 1999. http://www.inchem.org/documents/iarc/vol73/73-17.html
33 US EPA IRISD. Bromate CASRN 15541-45-4. IRIS Assessments.
https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/iris2/chemicalLanding.cfm?substance_nmbr=1002. Published 2001. Accessed July 24, 2019.
34 Cornucopia Institute. Behind the Bean: The Heroes and Charlatans of the Natural and Organic Soy Foods Industry.; 2009.
35 Berkeley Wellness. Ask the Experts, Hexane in Soy Food. Berkeley Wellness, Univ Calif. May 2012. https://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food-safety/article/hexane-soy-food.
36 Women’s Health. ‘Soy Protein Isolate’ Is in So Many Things—But Is It Healthy?; 2019. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/a27559289/soy-isolate-protein/.
37 One Health Certification Foundation. Five Core Principles.
38U.S. Department of Agriculture. Certified Responsible Antibiotic Use.
Minneapolis Public Schools Culinary and Wellness Services True Food Nutrition Philosophy 2019-2020 (https://cws.mpls.k12.mn.us/uploads/cws_nutrition_philosophy.pdf) and Culinary & Wellness Services Ingredient Guide (https://cws.mpls.k12.mn.us/uploads/mps_ingredient_guide_full.pdf) served as models for the Boston Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services Menu and Ingredient Guidelines.
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12 grams of sugar in 4 oz. of “Sweetened Yogurt” (My Way Café recipe)
15 grams of sugar in 4 oz. vanilla-flavored yogurt
6 grams of sugar in 1 oz. “Yogurt Dipping Sauce” (My Way Café recipe)
8 grams of sugar in .4 oz. of table syrup individual package
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