Quantcast

Trump Administration Rolls Back School Nutrition Standards

Popular
Steve Debenport / iStock / Getty Images

By Dan Nosowitz

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which is often attributed to both President Obama and Michelle Obama, instituted certain new reforms to the way the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers school lunch programs. Rolling back those reforms has been a major thrust of the Trump administration and Trump's USDA chief, Sonny Perdue. This week, the first of those rollbacks was announced.


The HHFK Act—we're just abbreviating for the sake of ease, it isn't usually referred to that way—was a multi-pronged effort to improve childhood nutrition. The best-known provisions included limiting milk to either one percent white or nonfat flavored milks; setting maximum limits for sodium, fat and sugar; and minimum limits for fruits, vegetables and whole grains. But it also instituted new funds and resources to help schools source more local produce, increased the number of eligible kids, increased access to water fountains, and cleaned up the way eligibility is run (by using census data rather than applications).

For years, Donald Trump has insisted that these rules are onerous and that more control should be given to the schools, which often operate under a strict and wildly inadequate budget. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue has said that kids may simply be uninterested in healthy options, and that forcing schools to offer them is thus a waste of money and effort. (This is not, according to some studies, true; this study, for example, found that increasing access to healthy food does in fact increase the intake of healthy food.)

This week, the USDA released a press release outlining some of the new rules, saying the new rules are designed to "eliminate unnecessary regulatory burdens." The first wave of these new rules include allowing flavored one-percent milk and freezing the sodium reduction requirements. Under the HHFK Act, schools were supposed to gradually reduce sodium content over the course of the decade. The new rules delay that by seven years, which could simply signal that those sodium goals may never actually be required.

The HHFK Act has, despite statements from the Trump administration, been a success; school lunch participation is up, long-term budgets don't seem to be affected, and according to the USDA's research, schools have reached near-universal compliance with the rules.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Gina Lopez, the Philippine secretary of the environment, at a meeting with residents affected by a mine tailing disaster. Keith Schneider

Gina Lopez, a former Philippine environment secretary, philanthropist and eco-warrior, died on Aug. 19 from brain cancer. She was 65.

Read More Show Less
Trump speaks to contractors at the Shell Chemicals Petrochemical Complex on Aug. 13 in Monaca, Pennsylvania. Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

Thousands of union members at a multibillion dollar petrochemical plant outside of Pittsburgh were given a choice last week: Stand and wait for a speech by Donald Trump or take the day off without pay.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Regis Lagrange / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Ariane Lang, BSc, MBA

Lemon (Citrus limon) is a common citrus fruit, alongside grapefruits, limes, and oranges (1).

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of lava flows from the eruption of volcano Kilauea on Hawaii, May 2018. Frizi / iStock / Getty Images

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
A zero-emission electric car in Vail, Colorado on July 31. Sharon Hahn Darlin / CC BY 2.0

By Simon Mui

States across the country are stepping up to make clean cars cheaper and easier to find. Colorado's Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) voted Friday to adopt a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program that will increase the availability of electric vehicles in the state, improve air quality and increase transportation affordability.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
An internally displaced woman flees from drought in Dollow, Somalia. Zohra Bensemra / Reuters

By Annemieke Tsike-Sossah

World Humanitarian Day offers an opportunity to take stock of where the world stands on addressing humanitarian issues and highlight lessons for how to improve in the future. Here are five ways we all can commit to driving positive change for the world.

Read More Show Less
A view from the top of Ok volcano in Iceland, where the Okjokull glacier used to be located. Drepicter / Getty Images Plus

Officials, activists and scientists gathered in Iceland Sunday for the funeral of the nation's first glacier to fall victim to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
picture-alliance / Xinhua / Then Chih Wey

Some 183 nations are set to discuss possibly loosening elephant and ivory exports at the World Wildlife Conference on trade in endangered species, known as CITES, which is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

Read More Show Less