This year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reaches its 150th year of policy-making for food and natural resource issues. The USDA has come a long way since President Abraham Lincoln signed into law its establishment in 1862; expanding agricultural markets, enhancing food safety and, in 1946, creating a National School Lunch Act to provide low-cost or free lunches to qualifying students. The National School Lunch Act was intended to ensure a nutritious meal to children who might not otherwise have access.

Our member companies also are providing options in schools through our voluntary national School Beverage Guidelines.  Under the School Beverage Guidelines, we removed full-calorie soft drinks from all schools and replaced them with lower-calorie, smaller-portion beverage options. As a result, we decreased beverage calories shipped to schools by 88 percent since 2004.

Our School Beverage Guidelines are common sense, supported by science and really strike the right balance.  Not only that, they’re supported by parents, teachers and community leaders nationwide!

So, wish a happy birthday to the USDA – and when you have some free time, check out the details on the School Beverage Guidelines on our website!