Lots of folks are wondering if the new USDA guidelines on nutritional standards for snacks sold in schools have essentially killed food fundraisers and bake sales, long a mainstay for PTOs and PTAs.

This is not the case.

Acknowledging there has been confusion around these new guidelines, which go into effect this school year, the USDA just issued a statement to set the record straight, saying it is “not imposing federal restrictions on bake sales or fundraisers,’’ and “states are free to allow fundraisers and bake sales that don’t meet the new standards during the school day if they choose.’’

Bottom line: Your group should check on the state level to find out what rules apply in your community. But there are no new federal rules.

Even if your community has adopted the federal guidelines, the USDA points out that it has always stated the restrictions apply to sales during the school day only. This means your group could hold food fundraisers or bake sales after school and during weekend events.

In early 2014, we published How Will Changing Food Rules Affect PTOs?, which examined how the USDA nutritional guidelines would impact parent groups. The guidelines stemmed from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which included Smart Snacks in School standards that would restrict sales of food in school cafeterias and vending machines. It requires that all snacks sold for consumption during the school day contain fruits, vegetables, lean protein, or whole grains, and have limited sugar, fat, and salt.

In its statement, the USDA said it never intended to regulate fundraisers or bake sales at the federal level, calling them “time-honored traditions.’’

If you would like more information from the USDA, you can read its statement here.

And, here’s a link to the USDA fact sheet on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.