Lunes, 15 Octubre, 2018

Hey kids, salt stays and grains go in school meals

Eleena Tovar | 04 May, 2017, 16:57

For school years beginning with 2017-18 and continuing through 2020-21, schools will not be required to meet Sodium Target 2.

Only one week after his confirmation as secretary of agriculture, Sonny Perdue announced Monday that the Trump administration will roll back the health-protective nutrition standards for school meals championed by former First Lady Michelle Obama. Obama pushed the changes as part of her "Let's Move" campaign to combat childhood obesity.

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that school lunch regulations under the Obama administration would be less restricted.

According to the USDA, schools have been facing increasing fiscal burdens as they try to adhere to existing food requirements, and they estimate that such requirements cost school districts and states $1.22 billion in Fiscal Year 2015.

The move was applauded by the School Nutrition Association (SNA), a group led by school cafeteria and nutrition employees and heavily funded by the food industry.

Perdue also cited budget constraints as a reason for the rollback, but there's no evidence that the healthy lunch program was a financial problem.

"Just days into his new job as Secretary of USDA, Secretary Perdue has made a decision to put special interests ahead of the health of America's children", DeLauro said in a statement.

The Trump administration will also loosen the milk requirements under which schools will be able to serve 1 percent flavored milk. The meal they get, the caloric intake and the nutritional capacity as that is going to be just as great.

Groups who support the nutrition standards said they were disapointed in the changes. The original nutrition standards included a schedule of sodium restrictions that limited salt more and more over time. Numbers are up 1 percent from 79 percent in 2012 to 80 percent this year for school lunches, while breakfast dropped 1 percent from 39 percent in 2012 to 38 percent this year. Current regulations require sodium levels in school lunches to average less than 1,230 milligrams in elementary schools; 1,360 in middle schools' and 1,420 in high schools. Sure, healthy items need to more appetizing, but by that logic, we should just give kids burgers and fries every day. The new regulation allows schools freedom to acquire the whole grain varieties they serve because the taste and the appearance of some of the compliant whole grains do not look palatable thus suffering the same fate of the vegetables, ABC News reported.

Christopher Stamm, who oversees nutrition services for Paramount Unified School District, said the district hasn't had trouble finding grains that students are willing to eat.

"Improving children's health should be a top priority for the USDA, and serving more nutritious foods in schools is a clear-cut way to accomplish this goal", the American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said in a statement Friday ahead of USDA's action.

"It's about whether one believes the federal government should dictate nearly every aspect of what kids eat at schools, or if local communities, with the input of parents, should make these decisions", Bakst said.