Is white bread about to make a comeback on school lunch menus? After complaints about taste and costs, the Trump administration rolled back a requirement that foods like pasta and bread be made with whole grains, the AP reports. Cafeteria directors who lobbied for the change say they just want greater flexibility to serve foods like white bread—which are more processed and have less fiber—when whole grains don't work. In Vermont, the relaxed rule means white rice will be served with beans again. In Oregon, macaroni and cheese may return. And in South Dakota, students may notice a change with their soup. "The staff asked right away, 'Oh my God, can we go back to the other saltines?'" said Gay Anderson, a school lunch director and president of the School Nutrition Association, which represents cafeteria operators and suppliers like Domino's and Kellogg.
The rollback addresses rules on grains, milk, and salt championed by former first lady Michelle Obama. Since 2014, schools had been required to serve only whole grain versions of food as part of the national school lunch program. The idea is that whole grains would be more nourishing and help cultivate healthy habits in the face of alarming obesity rates. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, which is among the parties suing over the rollback, notes that the standards were based on the government's own dietary guidelines and that most schools were successfully meeting them. But cafeteria operators said costs were higher, cooking was more difficult, and students were throwing away more food. The School Nutrition Association said that it's more important that children who rely on the lunches eat something. (Michelle Obama's lunch standards hit opposition before.)