Saturday, 19 June, 2021


Trump administration announces proposals to loosen guidelines for school meals

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Patty Aguilar | 18 January, 2020, 19:11

Brandon Lipps, a USDA deputy under secretary, outlined new menu standards drawn up by the the Food and Nutrition Service agency.

Per the Washington Post, the Department of Agriculture on Friday released proposed mandates on "school meals flexibilities" created to "better enable schools to serve nutritious foods children will be eager to eat while also increasing program [efficiency] and integrity". Potatoes could be served as a vegetable.

Under the proposal, schools would be allowed to cut the amount of certain types of vegetables served at lunch, and legumes offered as a meat alternative also could be counted as part of the vegetable requirement. "We are grateful for USDA's ongoing dialogue with school nutrition professionals and desire to ensure school meal programs operate smoothly to benefit students". They would allow schools to reduce the amount of fruit included in breakfasts served outside of the cafeteria from one cup to a half cup, according to the Post.

Colin Schwartz, CSPI's deputy director of legislative affairs, in a statement called the rule an "assault on children's health [that] continues today under the guise of "simplifying" school meals".

Until now, federal guidelines mandated that schoolkids fed by the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service - almost 30 million of them in 99,000 schools - received lowfat milk, reduced portion sizes, more fruit and vegetables, and less salt, sugar and fat.

However, the Trump administration has received criticism for potential loopholes that will allow students to be served more potatoes.

Michelle Obama turned 56 Friday, but one unwelcome gift came in the form of a new Trump proposal that would strike further at one of her most well-known initiatives as first lady: healthier school lunches.

"If kids aren't eating the food, and it's ending up in the trash, they aren't getting any nutrition - thus undermining the intent of the program", he said at the time.

"For many children, the food they eat at school is their only access to healthy, nutritious meals", he said.

The school meals program serves about 30 million students, a lot of them from low-income families.

The 2010 Health, Hunger-Free Kids Act set nutrition standards for school meals, requiring schools to offer fruits and vegetables and more whole-grain foods and to limit calories, fat and sodium.

Taking to Twitter agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said more common sense-flexibility is needed to provide pupils with nutritious meals. Before the rule change, only fat-free flavored milk was permitted.

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