Trump Administration Rolls Back Healthier School Lunch Requirements Championed By Michelle Obama
The Trump administration announced Friday its plan to roll back healthier school lunch standards spearheaded by Michelle Obama.
The new rules will give schools more flexibility “because they know their children best,” the Agriculture Department said in a press release.
“Schools and school districts continue to tell us that there is still too much food waste and that more common-sense flexibility is needed to provide students nutritious and appetizing meals. We listened and now we’re getting to work,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in a statement.
The new standards loosen requirements for serving sizes of fruits and vegetables. It follows a 2019 rollback of restrictions on milk and sodium content.
Colin Schwartz, the Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, criticized the change as a loophole that would permit unhealthy items back on the menu.
“The proposed rule would allow anything that might be allowable as an entrée on any one school day to be served as an a la carte item every single day,” Schwartz said in a statement. “In practice, if finalized, this would create a huge loophole in school nutrition guidelines, paving the way for children to choose pizza, burgers, French fries, and other foods high in calories, saturated fat or sodium in place of balanced school meals every day.”
The Obama administration’s school lunch plan increased the serving requirement for fruits and vegetables, banned trans fat and lowered sodium levels in meals. It also required school cafeterias to serve only skim or low-fat milk.
The changes were instated by Barack Obama via executive order, and were a part of the former First Lady’s Let’s Move! healthy living initiative.