Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Insanity is doubling down on a failed policy

By Julian Pecquet

First lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday unveiled tougher nutrition standards that school meals will have to meet starting this year.

The new standards were required by the 2010 school nutrition bill that increased funding for school meals. The new regulations, according to the Department of Agriculture, will:

• Ensure that students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week;

• Substantially increase offerings of whole grain-rich foods;

• Offer only fat-free or low-fat milk varieties;

• Limit calories based on the age of children being served to ensure proper portion size; and

• Increase the focus on reducing the amounts of saturated fat, trans fats and sodium.

Congress weakened proposed Department of Agriculture nutrition regulations in the spending bills approved last month following intense lobbying from the frozen pizza and potato industries. But consumer groups still praised the final rules unveiled Wednesday.

Thanks to the new guidelines, Jessica Donze Black of the Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project said, "children will see more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains on their cafeteria trays. Meals also will include more low-fat and nonfat dairy products, and less fat and sodium, and calorie levels will be appropriate for different age groups. Not only are these changes good for students, but they also give parents more assurance that schools support their efforts to provide healthy foods to their kids."

The American Academy of Pediatrics also approved.

"The finalized school meal standards are the strongest to date, and provide more fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and overall healthier meals for our children," Academy President Robert Block said in a statement. "These standards will undoubtedly make significant improvements in the health of all our nation's children."

The first lady announced the new rules alongside Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and celebrity chef Rachael Ray at an elementary school in Alexandria, Va.

LAUSD Students Roundly Reject Healthier School Lunch Menu

No comments: