SDE: Competitive Foods

Competitive Foods

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State and federal regulations govern the sale of competitive foods at school. Competitive foods are any foods and beverages sold to students on school premises other than meals served through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) school nutrition programs. They include all foods and beverages available outside of school meals such as cafeteria a la carte sales, vending machines, school stores, and fundraisers. School premises include all areas of the property under the jurisdiction of the local or regional board of education, the regional vocational-technical school system, or the governing authority district or school.

Public schools, private schools, and residential child care institutions (RCCIs) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) must comply with the USDA Smart Snacks nutrition standards. All schools and institutions must comply with the state competitive foods regulations. Public schools must also comply with the Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.).


The resources below provide information and implementation guidance on the state and federal competitive foods requirements that apply to all Connecticut schools and institutions (public schools, private schools, and RCCIs).

For more resources on competitive foods, review the Competitive Foods resource list on the CSDE's Resources for Child Nutrition Programs webpage.


Effective July 1, 2014, the USDA Smart Snacks nutrition standards apply to the sale of competitive foods to students in public schools, private schools, and RCCIs participating in the NSLP and SBP. The Smart Snacks standards apply to all areas of the school campus during the school day. Sale means the exchange of foods and beverages for a determined amount of money or its equivalent, such as tickets, coupons, tokens, and similar items. Sales also include any activities that suggest a student donation in exchange for foods and beverages. The school campus is all areas of the property under the jurisdiction of the school that are accessible to students during the school day. The school day is the period from midnight before to 30 minutes after the end of the official school day. For more information on Smart Snacks, visit the CSDE's Smart Snacks webpage.

NOTE: Connecticut public school districts that choose the healthy food option of Healthy Food Certification (HFC) under C.G.S. Section 10-215f must meet the stricter CNS.

Effective July 1, 2006, the CNS applies to all foods sold in public schools that choose the healthy food option of HFC under C.G.S. Section 10-215f. The CNS exceeds the Smart Snacks standards.

The C.G.S. apply to all public schools, regardless of whether they participate in the USDA school nutrition programs or the healthy food option of HFC.

All public school districts (HFC and non-HFC) must comply with the Smart Snacks beverage standards and the stricter provisions of the state beverage statute (C.G.S. Section 10-221q). Private schools and RCCIs must comply with the Smart Snacks beverage standards. For information on the differences between Smart Snacks and the Connecticut beverage statute, see the comparison chart and Summary of Smart Snacks Standards.

CONTACT:  CSDE School Nutrition Programs Staff
Connecticut State Department of Education
Bureau of Health, Nutrition, Family Services and Adult Education
Child Nutrition Programs
450 Columbus Boulevard, Suite 504
Hartford, CT 06103-1841
Phone: 860-807-2050
Fax: 860-807-2127

Nondiscrimination Statements (USDA and CSDE)

Content Last Modified on 11/20/2017 7:46:05 AM