The USDA has decided to lift recent restrictions limiting the amount of meat and grains used weekly in school lunches across the nation.
Lawmakers and school administrators voiced concerns to the Agriculture Department after the limiting guidelines went into effect in September. The new rules were put in place to boost the addition of healthy fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to school menus in a time when childhood obesity rates continue to soar.
However, questions have been raised about lack of satisfying nourishment and the hardship these restrictions have placed on schools.
According to The Hill:
“Several farm-state senators from both parties had been pushing USDA to change its school lunch requirements, saying it left some students hungry and schools dealing with extra paperwork to comply with the regulations.”
In a letter to members of Congress on Friday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack responded to the issue by addressing the USDA’s willingness to provide flexibility and guidance to schools during this transition.
The Huffington Post reports that in a letter to Senator John Hoeven, Vilsack made the following statement:
“This flexibility is being provided to allow more time for the development of products that fit within the new standards while granting schools additional weekly menu planning options to help ensure that children receive a wholesome, nutritious meal every day of the week.”
Although everyone seems to agree that childhood nutritional habits are essential in the fight against obesity, there are doubts about how much involvement the government should have. According to The Denver Post, both nutritionists and parents have praised the new standards while others feel the government is overstepping its bounds.
Do you think the USDA should be allowed to put restrictions on school lunches?