Published: Sun, January 19, 2020
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Trump administration announces proposals to loosen guidelines for school meals

Trump administration announces proposals to loosen guidelines for school meals

Per the Washington Post, the Department of Agriculture on Friday released proposed mandates on "school meals flexibilities" created to "better enable schools to serve nutritious foods children will be eager to eat while also increasing program [efficiency] and integrity".

"The Trump administration's assault on children's health continues today under the guise of "simplifying" school meals", Colin Schwartz, the Center for Science in the Public Interest's deputy director for legislative affairs, said in a statement.

"If those students don't have access to the nutritious options provided by the school, they may turn to low cost, processed foods that are high in calories but sparse in nutrients". The proposed rules focus on adjusting fruit and vegetable serving requirements and attempting to reduce food waste.

He says that limiting the variety of vegetables served allows french fries to become even more central to students' diets.

"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", Perdue said in a press release.

The secretary for the agriculture department said that schools had told them they were getting lots of food waste, from food not being eaten, and that they wanted more choice.

The Washington Post reports the proposals would allow schools to reduce the amount of vegetables and fruits required at lunch and breakfast, and would let schools sell more burgers, pizza and french fries.

The American Heart Association said the rule would "put children's health at risk".

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The proposals were announced on the former first lady's birthday.

Nutritionists are concerned that the deregulation of what constitutes a snack will lead to schools offering cheap but unhealthy options at every meal.

Under USDA's proposed rule, schools would be given more freedom to adjust the amount of fruit and veggies in the meals.

The Trump administration took further steps on Friday towards rolling back healthier standards for school lunches in America championed by Michelle Obama, proposing rules to allow more pizza, meat and potatoes over fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

The proposal also highlights the need to change the current one-size-fits-all method.

These changes come on the heels of other controversial program alterations rolled out by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in 2019, weakening school nutrition standards for whole grain, nonfat milk and sodium, all of which had been tightened during the Obama administration.

The agency also proposed changes to the summer meals program, which serves 2.6 million children.

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