Published: Tue, May 09, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Gov't relaxes salt, whole grain standards for school meals

New U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue rolled back some nutrition requirements of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2012 in a proclamation he announced at a Leesburg, Va., elementary school, according to a news release.

In an interim final rule, aimed at giving schools more flexibility, Perdue and his department are postponing new sodium reductions for at least three years and allowing schools to serve non-whole grain rich products occasionally as well as 1 percent flavored milk.

For future meal planning, Abrams said the district will look for guidance from the Illinois School Board of Education, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the School Nutrition Association.

"The USDA and President Trump have now chosen to roll back much of the progress we have made in the fight against rates of childhood obesity and malnutrition", DeLauro said. Many times, kids end up throwing away foods they dislike. "The president's fondness for Big Macs and KFC is well known, but we shouldn't let Colonel Sanders and McDonald's run the school cafeteria".

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The Food and Drug Administration has chosen to delay calorie labeling rules set to go into effect this week.

"The school is compliant with the whole-grain requirements, but no one is eating the grits", Perdue said.

Fewer students in Fleetwood schools are participating in school lunch programs since stricter nutrition requirements took effect in 2010. Schools have always been required to follow government nutrition rules if they accept federal reimbursements for free and reduced-price meals for low-income students, but the Obama administration's standards were stricter. That extends the previous flexibility the agency granted after schools complained it was hard to find whole-grain foods like pastas to meet the rule.

"We all know that meals can't be nutritious if they're not consumed - if they're put in the trash", said Perdue in an announcement at a school in Virginia, where he ate a balanced meal of chicken nuggets and salad. However, critics fear that it marks the start of a larger change in direction from a first lady who made nutrition and health the main cause.

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Local dietitians say students will like school lunches better after the Trump administration loosened school nutrition rules. "Our goal is to feed as many students who want to eat, good quality healthy food every day". But schools have said some parts of the law are still causing them trouble, such as finding tasty foods that are high in whole grains.

It's just too hard for schools to do and kids don't like the food, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation has worked with more than 35,000 schools to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity. "Our kids may eat a lot of whole grains where kids up in the northern part of Georgia, they may not be accustomed to that".

She said she is happy to see the freeze on sodium levels.

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The American Heart Association, however, said it opposes changing the meal standards.

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