USDA Proclamation on School Meals Garners Criticism from Lobby Group

0f61b7c6-a008-4b96-9c46-395bc6d8808barticleimage.jpg

02 May 2017 --- The US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue has signed a proclamation that will allow schools to begin “the process of restoring local control of guidelines on whole grains, sodium and milk” and give them greater flexibility in meeting regulations for school meals. Although Patricia Montague, CEO of the School Nutrition Association, praised the proclamation, it received criticism from CSPI Nutrition Policy Director Margo G. Wootan, who says that the new secretary has started to “roll back progress on the quality of the meals served to America’s children.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is a US consumer watchdog that advocates for a healthier food system. 

In the proclamation, released on 1 May, Purdue points to the need for “flexibility in serving whole grain-rich foods in school meals,” and directs the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to “begin the regulatory process to provide schools with additional options in regard to the serving of whole grains.” In addition, the proclamation recognizes schools that meet sodium Target I for school years 2017–2020 as “compliant with USDA sodium requirements.”

Sodium Target I refers to a set of sodium level reduction recommendations for school breakfasts and lunches, which went into effect in 2014. The proclamation allows schools to drop stricter sodium level recommendations (Target 2), which were initially set for July 2017.

The USDA website notes that government requirements for school meals have resulted in additional costs for school districts and states and that “most states are reporting that they’ve seen a decrease in student participation in school lunches, as nation-wide about one million students choose not to have a school lunch each day.” As a result, schools are encountering increasing costs but decreasing revenue from school meals.

“Policies that encourage healthy eating should enjoy bipartisan consensus. Unfortunately, special interests are prevailing on the Trump Administration to delay or undo many of the important nutrition advances of the last decade,” Wootan said in a statement on the watchdog’s website.

“Similarly, chain restaurants have been successfully implementing the calorie labeling requirements enacted into law seven long years ago. Calories on menus have proven both useful and popular with consumers. Yet the Trump Administration has signaled that it wants to subject menu labeling to even more years of delay,” she says, adding that “Republicans are just as likely as Democrats to suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and other diet-related health problems. Yet the Trump Administration is myopically putting Big Food’s interests over the interests of American consumers.”

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Health & Nutrition News

Researchers aim to curb unhealthy weight gain in pregnant women using technological tools

24 Sep 2018 --- With proper nutritional guidance and technological tools, it is safe and feasible to restrict weight gain in obese pregnant women, a Northwestern Medicine study has found. The “novel” study, coined MOMFIT (Maternal Offspring Metabolics: Family Intervention Trial), was the first of its kind to include a commercially available smartphone app in the weight-loss approach, according to the research team.

Health & Nutrition News

Parents uncertain about young children’s dietary transitions, IFIC survey shows

24 Sep 2018 --- A majority of parents of children under 24 months old are confident that they are feeding them an age-appropriate and nutritious diet, a survey by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation has found. However, in addition to these positive findings, the survey also uncovered parents’ underlying concerns around issues like what foods to introduce into their kids’ diets and when. The survey, funded by the US National Yogurt Association, points to the need for clear, unambiguous information on what constitutes good children’s nutrition.

Health & Nutrition News

Grabbing the opportunity: Snacking NPD undergoes health transformation

24 Sep 2018 --- Consumers are increasingly seeking food options that are suitable for on the go consumption, as well as being nutritious. Traditional fast-food snacks may fall short as healthful demands prevail, spurring ample NPD and innovation in an array of market areas. Nutrition on the go is becoming more achievable as healthier foods package themselves in on the go friendly formats, as well as established snacking options undergoing healthy transformations. 

Health & Nutrition News

More needs to be done to address food marketing to kids, says US consumer group 

21 Sep 2018 --- The Council of Better Business Bureaus’ Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) has released updates to its self-regulatory program to address food marketing to children. The updates include progress toward lower sodium targets and clearer added sugars labeling. Although 18 prominent food, beverage and restaurant companies have pledged to adopt the updates, US lobby group the Center for the Science in Public Interest (CSPI) has criticized the updates for failing to heed expert advice.

Health & Nutrition News

UK yogurt sugar content often well above recommended threshold, survey finds

21 Sep 2018 --- Many yogurts sold in UK supermarkets contain high levels of sugar, a survey published in BMJ has highlighted. Researchers from the Universities of Leeds and Surrey analyzed the product information of 921 yogurts and found that organic yogurts and those marketed towards children, in particular, had high levels of sugar. Fewer than 9 percent of products surveyed contained less than the 5 g of sugar per 100 grams threshold required to be classed “low sugar” and carry a green “traffic light” nutritional label in the UK. As such, reformulation for the reduction of free sugars in yogurts is warranted.

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/usda-proclamation-on-school-meals-sodium-intake-garners-criticism-from-lobby-group.html