Changes in school lunch policy

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue insists farmers and ranchers will not be worse off after the Trump administration renegotiates the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The changes can not be instituted until USDA goes through a formal rulemaking process, which should begin shortly.

"I'm going to be the unapologetic chief advocate, chief salesman for American agriculture products around the world", he said.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue toured a Nevada farm before laying out his vision for the president's agriculture policy.

Perdue will direct USDA to begin the regulatory process for schools to serve 1 percent flavored milk through the school meals programs.

But Perdue said that schools that haven't had any problems finding whole-grain rich pasta, for example, don't have to make changes to the rules.

Andrew Gilbert, who has two children at Catoctin Elementary, said he believed the changes would have a negative impact on nutritional standards.

Patricia Montague, CEO of the School Nutrition Association, applauded the proclamation.

But that might not be Michelle Obama's only program on the administration's chopping block.

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and Reps.

Perdue, appointed by President Trump, announced this week he was rolling back nutrition rules that were part of Obama's Let's Move campaign.

It is encouraging that the USDA is revisiting and relaxing school lunch nutrition regulations, but perhaps this is a good time to re-evaluate whether providing subsidized lunches to schoolchildren should be the province of the federal government, particularly in light of President Donald Trump's recent executive order to "protect and preserve state and local control" of K-12 schools. "This isn't about flexibility, it's about making kids less healthy".

This conclusion-that kids don't like the healthy food and are throwing it out-is not by any means an accepted truth. "However, the USDA and President Trump have now chose to roll back much of the progress we have made in the fight against rates of childhood obesity and malnutrition".

At lunch in Turlock Unified School District, chocolate milk has always been available, said Child Nutrition Manager Cathy Ford.

Perdue, a former Georgia governor, said schools in the South in particular, struggles with the rules. Most states have reported seeing a decrease in student participation in school lunches, and about one million students choose not to have a school lunch each day nationwide. "Minimizing access to healthy food will have consequences for our nation as it grapples with a childhood obesity crisis", Pingree said.

The changes by the Trump administration also halt a requirement that chain restaurants and other food service establishments post the calorie content of food.

  • Leroy Wright