USDA: School Lunch Proposal Is Efficient. Critics: 'Unconscionable'

Department wants schools to be able to cut mandates on fruits and veggies, offer more pizza
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2020 7:30 AM CST
New Proposal on School Lunches Threatens Obama Initiative
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Jupiterimages)

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. Per the Washington Post, the Department of Agriculture on Friday released proposed mandates on "school meals flexibilities" designed to "better enable schools to serve nutritious foods children will be eager to eat while also increasing program [efficiency] and integrity." The proposed rules for the Food and Nutrition Service—the agency that manages nutritional programs for almost 100,000 schools around the nation, feeding nearly 30 million kids—would let schools serve up more fare such as pizza, fries, and burgers, while allowing them to cut back on the fruits and veggies they're currently made to offer at breakfast and lunch.

Detractors of the Obama-era rules, which upped the amount of fruits, veggies, and whole-grain fare to be served, say that the new proposal would decrease instances of currently required healthy foods going to waste when kids don't eat them. The New York Times, however, notes that this new initiative has long been pushed by food manufacturers. "With one in three of our kids on track to have diabetes, it's unconscionable that the Trump administration would do the bidding of the potato and junk food industries," says a former director of Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" public health campaign. The proposal will be published in the Federal Register on Jan. 23 and be open for public comment for 60 days. A spokeswoman for the USDA, meanwhile, says it wasn't intentional that these proposals were rolled out on Obama's birthday. (More Trump administration stories.)

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