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Common Smart Snacks Q&A:


  1. Does Michigan allow for any food fundraisers to be exempt from the Smart Snacks standards? Yes. As of July 2015, Michigan allows optional food fundraiser exemptions. Up to two food/beverage fundraisers per school building per week are allowed. Please see MDE non-compliant fundraiser exemption memo for more details.
  2. What about bulk food fundraisers? Are these allowed? Bulk food fundraisers not meant for immediate consumption are allowed to be sold during the school day without needing to meet Smart Snacks guidelines. This includes Girl Scout Cookies, bulk popcorn, preordered bulk foods or snacks, frozen pizza kits, cookie dough and more. Please note that sales of these items is not allowed in the foodservice area during mealtimes. See Allowable Food Fundraisers handout for more detail.
  3. What about classroom parties or teacher "treat" rewards? As of March 2015, USDA is now allowing classroom parties (even if they require money that is collected ahead of time) and teacher "treat" rewards or food rewards for school performance or good behavior to NOT meet the Smart Snacks standards. As of this date, these two scenarios do not need to meet Smart Snacks guidelines. Click here for more detailed information (see questions on pages 12-13).
  4. Can I still serve popcorn made in my school's popcorn machine? Generally, popcorn made in machines results in fat and sodium levels that exceed the standards. However, MDE and foodservice directors have worked together to find a number of popcorn recipes that meet the standards (see "Recipes" section above). Your school or district is also encouraged to come up with its own recipes that meet the guidelines. The Product Navigator also has several packaged popcorn options that meet the standards. 
  5. How is “for sale to students” defined? Any food provided to students that requires payment, contribution, exchange of tickets or tokens of any sort at the time of exchange would be required to be compliant with the Smart Snacks nutrition standards. Items not available to students (such as food available only to adults) for consumption during the school day or food brought in for sack lunches, school celebrations, holiday parties, etc. would be exempt.
  6. How will I know if the products sold to students during the school day are non-compliant with this law? Try using the Smart Snacks Product Calculator to take help identify if a food or beverage meets the nutrition standards. Be careful though – it’s very important to enter the information correctly in the calculator to get accurate results about compliance or non-compliance! When asked in the calculator about the type of protein in the product, “other” (choice ‘e’) must be chosen if the protein listed is not from one of the exempt categories in order to get accurate results. For example, if peanuts are the first ingredient listed, but Soy Protein Isolate is the second ingredient (and therefore, the protein source in the product), “other” is the only appropriate choice in the calculator.
  7. I don’t have time to run all of my products through this calculator! Then try contacting your distributor for a list of products they believe meet the Smart Snacks nutrition standards or browse the Product Navigator to help you identify products that meet the Smart Snacks standards. You can search by company to see if your vendor is in the database and identify compliant products that they have. In addition, check out the John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition “A-List” of products. Reminder: just because a company puts a product on a “compliant list” doesn’t exempt you from running that product through the calculator yourself to assure that it really does meet the Smart Snacks nutrition standards. Product formulations change frequently and at times it is difficult for distributors to keep up with changes.
  8. Our school food service department doesn’t run the school store, snack cart, vending machines, or fundraisers! This is where communication to others is going to be key to successful compliance with the Smart Snacks in School rule. Engage your School or District Business Officer. Find out whom in your school or district deals with the vendors and manages actual contracts and let them know about the Smart Snacks nutrition standards. Ask them to help you identify contracts that may need amending based on the results of the product inventories you completed, and identify the vendors who need to be contacted.
  9. What is a “compliant fundraiser”? Entertainment books, “a-thons” (such as walk-a-thon, skate-a-thon, etc.), spirit wear, a school garden-based farmers market, SCRIP, and silent auctions are just a few ideas. Log into the Alliance for a Healthier Generation website to find a growing list of allowable fundraisers.
  10. How will a la carte items be affected by these standards? The new Smart Snacks nutrition standards exempt individual entrée items offered as part of lunch or breakfast from all competitive food standards when sold a la carte the day of or the day after they are served as a part of the reimbursable meal. This allows schools some flexibility in planning a la carte sales and handling leftovers.