Proposed legislation to cut federal mandates on school lunch standards is expected, but the implications for fruit and vegetable requirements in school meals are unclear.
Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., has titled the legislation “Reducing Federal Mandates on School Lunch Act” and promised in a release on her website that the pending legislation would make the USDA’s temporary easing of the meat and grain requirements permanent. She also said the bill would allow schools more flexibility in serving meats and grains while still staying within calorie maximums.
The legislation would give school administrators flexibility in some rules that have increased costs for school districts.
“Current school lunch standards place an unnecessary burden on school administrators, especially in some of our smaller school districts, our poorest counties and our reservations, and send many of our kids home feeling hungry,” she said in the release. “My Reducing Federal Mandates on School Lunch Act gives flexibility to schools to help ensure our kids get the nutrition they need to be healthy and successful throughout the day.”
Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition and health for the United Fresh Produce Association, Washington, D.C., said Dec. 5 that the bill was not yet filed or available for review.