Child Nutrition Standards in Jeopardy


June 3, 2014
Kayla Kitson, U.S. Poverty Intern

As Congress works on Appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2015, the nutrition standards for federal school meals programs are at risk of being weakened.  The standards were significantly strengthened with the enactment of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, leading to regulations requiring more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and restricting fat, trans fat, sodium, and caloric content.  However, the House Appropriations Committee approved an FY First Lady Michelle Obama also expressed concern about the prospect of scaling back the nutrition standards, arguing that this will undermine progress toward reducing childhood obesity and improving children’s health.

The Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill, approved by the Appropriations Committee on May 22, does not contain a provision for waivers to schools, but does allow for delays or exceptions to specific nutritional standards pending further research or report by the USDA.  The full House is likely to consider the Agriculture bill in the next few weeks.  RESULTS opposes congressional efforts to weaken nutrition standards in school meals and other food assistance programs.

Sources:

House bill: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-113hr-fc-ap-fy2015-ap00-agriculture.pdf

House Approps report: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hrpt-113-hr-fy2015-agriculture.pdf

Senate bill: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/sites/default/files/hearings/Ag%20Bill%20BILLS-113s2389pcs.pdf

NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/29/opinion/michelle-obama-on-attempts-to-roll-back-healthy-reforms.html?hp&rref=opinion

NPR story: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/05/30/317161292/health-advocates-lament-gop-move-to-relax-school-lunch-rules

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