Gov't relaxes healthy standard for school meals

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue shake hands with Senate Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairman Sen. Pat Roberts R-Kan. after signing an interim rule designed to provide flexibility for school meals at Catoctin Elementary School in Lee

Conservative Republicans have long held concerns about the program's cost.

She added, "Food is the best preventative medicine and when it comes to our children, it's our responsibility to do the best we can on their behalf. We want to continue the progress we have made".

The language would apply only to the 2017-18 school year.

The Obama administration rules set fat, sugar and sodium limits on foods in the lunch line and beyond.

USDA will publish an interim rule to cover the regulatory changes needed to allow low-fat flavored milk in schools. It also rewarded schools that met the standards with additional funding, six cents per healthy lunch.

In addition, federally-funded school lunches are to be given exemptions for the 2017-2018 school during on providing whole grain rich products, and can offer one percent milk, according to The Hill.

"By forgoing the next phase of sodium reduction, the Trump administration will be locking in dangerously high sodium levels in school lunch", Wootan said. Throughout the visit, Perdue outlined principles to provide schools greater flexibility while maintaining the nutritional standards of the program. The Administration supports policies and programs to empower adolescent girls including efforts to educate them through the completion of secondary school.

The changes, championed by Michelle Obama, were unveiled at Parklawn Elementary, a school 30 miles southeast of Catoctin Elementary. But not everyone has the resources Trump does to stave off poor health (a private chef, good insurance, a team of doctors), and for the rest of us, especially children, eating too much sugary, high-sodium, and high-fat food and not enough fruits and vegetables will lead to health problems and/or obesity.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue started out his second week on the job by going back to school and eating lunch. Some schools have asked for changes to that policy, saying students often throw them away. It does not affect federal reimbursements for school lunches or funding for meals for at-risk students.

"This announcement is the result of years of feedback from students, schools, and food service experts about the challenges they are facing in meeting the final regulations for school meals", stated Agriculture Secretary Perdue.

"Meals can't be nutritious if they aren't consumed, if they're put in the trash", he said.

But despite those successes, the rules have become controversial in some sectors.

The menu labeling law would have required chain restaurants and other establishments that sell prepared foods to post the calorie content of food.

Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, said that the previous tactic raised concerns about children's nutrition.

A Harvard university study found that vegetable consumption per student increased 16% from 2011 to 2012, when the healthy eating regulations went into effect.

The massive spending bill, which keeps most of the federal government funded through September 30, also would push back deadlines for schools to meet lower sodium levels and prevent federal funds from paying salaries of any government officials to implement the nutrition standards. It's all for a few relatively small moves around school lunches. This in turn means they are significantly less likely to have access to nutritional meals outside of school.

And yet, despite Perdue's reassurance that no rules were being rolled back, many have greeted the announcement with disappointment.

The criticism continued in Leesburg, as his appearance drew around two dozen protesters outside the school and condemnation from several local politicians. Perdue chuckled and waved to the protestors from a distance as he got into his SUV, prompting one woman, who declined to give her name, to yell "give a damn!" after him.

The American Heart Association has expressed different views, citing the effectiveness of current restrictions.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Monday announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide greater flexibility in nutrition requirements for school meal programs in order to make food choices both healthful and appealing to students.

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