Congress' attempt to weaken school nutrition programs

Friday, May 23, 2014

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture just rolled back major steps toward a healthier school lunch. On May 20, during the subcommittee’s markup of the 2015 Agricultural Appropriations Bill, Subcommittee Chair Robert Aderholt revealed a provision that would allow schools to opt out of meeting the U.S. Department of Agriculture's school food requirements and still receive federal reimbursement for meals that fall below federal nutritional standards.

This is a travesty that puts the health of our children and their children at stake. We all need to push back on this and make the health of our children our primary goal, not the health of big business or even the bottom line of school food service operations.

Congressman Sam Farr, the ranking member of the subcommittee, protested the provision, citing concern that school districts would continue to receive federal funds to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables but not be required to buy them. He recognized that meeting the requirements can be challenging, but he said, “We don’t allow kids to opt out of math or opt out of science because it’s tough. Changing the American diet is fundamental to bringing down health care costs.”

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