Michelle Obama's School Lunch Rules in GOP Cross Hairs

New bill would let schools opt out of program championed by first lady

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted May 20, 2014 3:46 PM CDT

(Newser) – No Obama program is safe from House Republicans—even when the Obama in question is Michelle. A GOP agriculture and food spending released yesterday contains a provision that would take a bite out of the first lady's stricter school lunch health standards, the AP reports. With many schools complaining about the program, Republicans want to allow them to opt out if they lose money on the healthier lunches over a six-month period.

The idea is getting a big push from the School Nutrition Association, the Washington Post reports, which gets substantial funding from food industry sources. Michelle Obama held a conference call with health activists yesterday urging them to fight back against such pressure, while Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released a statement calling the waivers a "major step backward." The SNA says it's sympathetic to the program's goal, but that it has "increased cost and increased food waste," as kids throw out their veggies.

This Feb. 27, 2013 file photo shows first lady Michelle Obama and Food Network chef Rachel Ray discussing lunches with students from the Eastside and Northside Elementary Schools in Clinton, Miss.
This Feb. 27, 2013 file photo shows first lady Michelle Obama and Food Network chef Rachel Ray discussing lunches with students from the Eastside and Northside Elementary Schools in Clinton, Miss.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
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