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DODEA School Lunch Price Increase OK'd

DALLAS -- School lunch prices at all overseas Department of Defense Education Activity schools will increase starting Jan. 3, 2012, due to a new federal law and to keep pace with increasing food and operational costs, officials said.

The military services approved an increase in the price of school lunch at DODEA schools Nov. 10 in order to comply with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (Public Law 111-296).

The act requires participants in the U.S. Department of Agriculture meal program to raise paid student lunch prices to a level comparable to the state subsidy rate used for USDA reimbursement.

"As the designated School Food Authority, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service provides school meals on a non-profit, break even basis," said Army Lt. Col. Thomas Shrader, an exchange spokesman. "In order to keep pace with increasing food and operational costs, and to be compliant with this new law, school lunch prices will increase for the first time in seven years."

The new prices will be $2.40 for elementary students and $2.55 for secondary students. Families qualifying for the Free and Reduced Meal Program will not be impacted by the meal cost increases. The cost of a reduced-price meal will remain unchanged at 40 cents per meal.

"Meals served under the DoD Student Meal Program meet the USDA guidelines, meaning no more than 30 percent of calories can come from fat and less than 10 percent from saturated fat," said Army Captain Katey Schrumm, the exchange staff dietitian. "School lunches provide one-third of the recommended dietary allowances of protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium and calories. In addition to a meat or meat alternative and grain, students get a fruit, vegetable and low-fat milk with every meal, which can be hard to do with a lunch packed from home. Busy parents can rest assured their child is being offered a complete, wholesome meal at school."

For more information on free and reduced meal eligibility requirements, contact an installation School Liaison Officer.

For more information on menus and the Horizon MealPayPlus program, visit www.shopmyexchange.com.

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