The trumpet administration gives schools more flexibility in the meals they serve. Critics say that the return on school lunch…
Mary Esch / AP
School lunches are healthier than five years ago. But agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue says schools need more flexibility when serving meals that the children will eat.
“If children do not eat what is served, they do not benefit and the food is wasted,” Perdue said in a statement announcing a rule to be published later this month.
The rule gives administrators more room for serving white bread, biscuits, tortillas and white pastors by requiring only half of the cereals served in school food every week is full grain rich. Currently, schools are only allowed to serve whole-grain bread and pasta without a waiver. In addition, administration is putting on the brakes of the goals developed under the Obama administration to cut down on sodium.
“We continue to listen to schools and make reasonable changes as needed to meet the needs of their students based on their true experiences in local communities,” Perdue wrote in a statement.
The changes gave rise to nutrient advocates who played an important role in driving healthier school food.
“Parents will be disappointed when they learn that the meals served for their children in school are under attack from President Trump’s deregulation agenda,” said Margo Wootan of the Center for Science of Public Interest. She points out that the schools will now have until school year 2024-2025 to face the next phase of sodium loss spelled out in the rules originally developed under the Obama administration.
“Even worse, the administration ruled the third and final sodium reduction targets that would originally come into force school year 2022-2023,” said Wootan. “This will mean that school lunches will fail to comply with dietary guidelines for Americans, as required by law.”
And why does this mean? Too much sodium in our diets can raise blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease. As we have reported, children in the United States consume an average of 3,387 mg of sodium per day (approximately as adults). It is much more than the daily limit of 2300 mg recommended by the federal diet guidelines.
The American Heart Association issued a statement calling on schools to “keep the course” in serving healthier foods. “As regards the health of our children, there should be no” flexibility. “Failure to comply with the science-based sodium standards for school food originally adopted by the USDA will put children’s health at risk, says the statement. Earlier this year, AHA president wrote to the USDA-express disappointment with the plan to weaken the criteria for sodium and whole grains.
The school’s nutrition association, representing school administration administrators across the country, applauded the changes. The group says there has been a gradual decline in school membership. updated nutrition standards came into force, choose almost 2 million fewer children every day school lunch.
“School’s nutrition staff have made enormous progress in improving student diets, but the rate and degree of menu changes during updated nutrition standards were more than some students would accept, “wrote SNA president Gay Anderson in a drop. “We appreciate Secretary Perdue to find solutions to address the concerns of the schools and students. This rule will attract more students to eat healthy school foods that meet calorie limits and offer fruit, vegetables and milk. “