House GOP bill to cut back school food standards


Lunch

 

 

House Republicans are proposing a spending bill to let schools opt out of government school food programs if they are losing money.

The bill would allow schools to apply for waivers if they have a net loss on school food programs for six months in a row.

Headed by first lady Michelle Obama, the new standards on the nutritional values of school food will be measured by: limits on fat, calories, sugar and sodium limits have been rolled out to schools over the past two years.

The House Appropriations Committee said in a release that the bill is in response to requests from schools who have said the rules are too restrictive and costly despite many other schools that have had success with the rules in place, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The School Nutrition Association, which represents companies who sell food to schools, said that schools need more room to make their own decisions.

Almost half of school meal programs reported declines in revenue in the 2012-13 school year and 90 percent said food costs were up.  According to School Nutrition Association president, Leah Schmidt, “”School meal programs need more flexibility to plan menus that increase student consumption of healthy choices while limiting waste.”

Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest says the House Republicans are using a “hacksaw rather than a scalpel” to try and solve problems some schools are having.  She elaborated further, “It’s a shame that the House Republicans are taking a step backward and allowing schools to serve more unhealthy food to children.”

The House bill would provide money for Agriculture Department programs and Food and Drug Administration programs. A Senate subcommittee was also scheduled to mark up its version of the food and farm spending bill but have not yet released its amended version.

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