National education and labor news

Administration erodes school lunch rules

In one of his first regulatory acts as agriculture secretary, Trump appointee Sonny Perdue moved to scale back healthy school lunch standards promoted by former first lady Michelle Obama as part of her campaign to fight childhood obesity. Perdue has directed his department to weaken restrictions on salt and requirements for whole grains, making it easier to serve foods like white bread and regular pasta instead of healthier alternatives. 

Perdue will also now allow flavored 1 percent milk in school cafeterias — a frequent demand of dairy-industry lobbyists.

At the annual summit of the Partnership for a Healthier America, an anti-obesity nonprofit, Michelle Obama spoke out against the changes. “You have to stop and think, ‘Why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you, and why is that a partisan issue?” she asked. “Because here’s the secret: If somebody is doing that, they don’t care about your kid, and we need to demand everyone to care deeply about our kids.”

Michelle Obama was a prominent advocate for the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. That legislation instructed the U.S. Agriculture Department to reduce salt, sugar and fat and increase whole grains, fruits and vegetables in students’ meals.

Politico, May 1
HuffPost, May 12
CNN, May 13

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