Smart Snacks Standards Impact Adams


Dayna Tan

A display of two lunch options at an Adams.

The new Smart Snacks in School standards set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture in accordance with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 are in full effect this school year and have already had an impact on Adams High School.
The new food requirements went into effect on July 1 and apply to all food sold in schools, including items sold in cafeterias, school stores, vending machines, and at fundraisers.
According to, “The Smart Snacks in School standards stipulate that all snack foods sold in school must be ‘whole grain rich,’ meaning they contain 50% whole grains or have whole grains as the first ingredient, or have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product or a protein-rich food. Combination foods that contain at least ¼ cup fruit and/or vegetable or naturally contain 10% of the daily value (DV) of calcium, potassium, vitamin D or dietary fiber will also be accepted.” Foods must also meet calorie, sodium, fat, and sugar limits.
The Smart Snack requirement has been an obstacle for The Amble Inn, the Adams school store, as it has limited what can be sold to customers. Despite the challenges, Amble Inn adviser Mr. Vince Lopiccolo has a positive attitude.
“I see the food policy as a new opportunity to provide better quality snacks and treats for our customers that are going to be healthier for them in the long run,” said Lopiccolo.
The Amble Inn staff is working to obtain a new vendor that will provide a greater assortment of products. As for now, the store’s inventory is a bit limited due to the new food standards, but the current products have been well received by students.
“It certainly poses some challenges, finding products that meet the guidelines as well as convincing customers to try products that they might not be familiar with. So we are trying to identify brands they already know like Pop Tart, Rice Krispie Treats, and Pepsi. We are open to this but is has been a challenge,” said Lopiccolo.
The law also sets nutrition standards for beverages. Schools are permitted to sell water, unflavored low fat milk, unflavored or flavored milk alternatives, 100% fruit or vegetable juice, and 100% fruit or vegetable juice diluted with water and no added sweeteners. Beverage sizes are also limited, with elementary schools allowed to sell eight-ounce portions and middle and high schools allowed to sell twelve-ounce portions. High schools may also sell flavored and carbonated “no calorie” and “lower calorie” beverage options as long as they meet the standards.
The food and beverage standards are apparent when looking at the vending machines at Adams, which now only offer diet sodas and snack options such as baked potato crisps, reduced fat tortilla chips, whole grain Pop Tarts, whole grain Rice Krispie Treats, and 100 calorie Nabisco snacks.
The requirements also affect fundraising. According to the policy, foods meeting the regulations may be sold at fundraisers, but the strict standards make this a difficult task.
The fundraising stipulation especially affects Student Council. In previous years, Student Council hosted bake sales throughout the year to raise money for various organizations, but the new food standards do not allow bake sales.
“It is really devastating because most of the fundraisers we do are bake sales. Last year we raised money with a bake sale during Breast Cancer awareness month and raised roughly $300 in just the first couple of days,” said senior Sheham Saif, Student Council President.
One of Student Council’s most profitable fundraisers is the canned food drive. Most of the funds raised during this week come from money students pay to buy pizza, beverages, or baked goods from their teachers. Unfortunately, this form of fundraising is no longer allowed due to the Smart Snacks in School standards.
“The law hasn’t actually affected us yet, because we haven’t done any of our fundraisers. Our first big one will be the canned food drive, and that’s going to be big. Right after Homecoming we are going to sit down and start brainstorming ideas and come up with new incentives,” said Student Council adviser Mr. Bryan Lindstrom.
Last year, Student Council awarded the winning class a food party, but the new food standards may make this year different.
“From what I’ve been told, as long as we make the parents aware ahead of time and send a note home saying that food will be served and we have the label ingredients as to what’s in it, we will be okay to do it,” said Lindstrom.
According to Lindstrom, it is still up in the air as to whether individual teachers will be allowed to sell food to students during this week.
“The real gray area is that we don’t know if asking for donations is legit versus having people pay for the food. The law clearly states that if they pay for it, it has to meet the guidelines. If you give it away you just have to notify parents,” said Lindstrom.
Student Council sent a letter to the state pointing out the charitable benefits of food sales at Adams and requesting exemption days from the law. In the letter, Student Council specifically points to the estimated loss of over $35,000 in donations.
The new rules have also impacted German teacher Mrs. Janie Barner’s fundraising efforts. Barner used to sell baked goods and donuts outside of her classroom and donated the proceeds to Habitat for Humanity. Unfortunately, she cannot continue her usual sales this year due to the Smart Snacks in School standards.
Barner thinks the law is “well intended but misguided,” and says she has not been able to raise nearly as much money this year as in previous years.
“I used to stand out in the hallway with my cart of baked goods and was able to meet so many students. What I miss most was the contact and interactions with students. It really is a shame,” said Barner.
Rochester Community Schools sent an email to parents outlining components of the new law and how it will be implemented in the district. Some of the main points in the email include eliminating unplanned food celebrations and food as rewards, banning food in common areas, and serving only manufactured foods with ingredient labels at events during the school day.
The Smart Snacks in School standards have definitely affected Adams High School, but students and staff are doing the best they can to comply with the changes.
More information can be found about the Smart Snacks in School standards on the Rochester Community Schools website on the “Health” page under the “Parents and Community” tab.