School Meal Standards Shake-Up: Sodium Stays, Whole Grains Out [VIDEO]
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will roll back some school meal standards that were put in place by the previous administration in their bid to make the school meals more palatable. Get to know more details about it, here.
Why The Change In Meal Standards?
USDA Secretary George Perdue reset the school meal standards on whole grains, milk, and sodium content and restored the control on these meal components to the local school districts. The USDA secretary said that his first major move as secretary is based on years of feedback from students, schools, and food service experts who have complained of either the food becoming more unpalatable, just to abide by the law or the law was too strict to adhere to, UPI reported.
The new directive did not change the previous rules on fruits and vegetables in school meal standards. But some school districts are still trying to contest it because they believe that they end up throwing these away, as kids do not like eating their vegetables. 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.
Reaction From Critics
The critics of the move to tinker with the school meal standards believe that staying the current levels of sodium in the school lunches is very dangerous, as it is locking in dangerously high levels of salt in diets. The previous administration had proposed lower levels of salt, sugar, and fats in school to curb childhood obesity.
Other critics believe that the current administration is accommodating business interests with this move because the new school meal standards reflect suggestions from groups who represent companies that sell food to schools and school nutrition directors. These organizations were the foremost critics of the previous administration's plan to change the rules on school lunches to make them healthier.