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National School Lunch Program Overview
- More than half of all children in the United States consume school lunch provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and one in 10 has school breakfast provided under the USDA’s School Breakfast Program.
- Approximately 8 million breakfasts and 28 million lunches are provided each day under these federal programs.
- The NSLP has served more than 219 billion lunches since the program’s initiation in 1946.
- These federally assisted meal programs operate in more than 99,800 public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions.
- School districts and independent schools voluntarily participate in the NSLP. Schools that choose to participate are reimbursed with cash subsidies and receive agricultural commodities and bonus foods for each meal they serve.
- Schools are audited at least once every five years. State authorities, working in conjunction with the USDA, evaluate everything from recipe composition to where milk is positioned in the lunch line.
Want the PCRM Healthy School Lunch Team to work with your school district? Start by taking these easy steps >