USDA sets final rule easing school meal requirements

Read the original article by Susan Kelly at here.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday announced a final rule giving local schools more flexibility in formulating healthy meals.

The rule, to be published later this month in the Federal Register, relaxes some requirements on milk, whole grains and sodium in response to challenges schools have faced serving meals that both appeal to students and meet the nutrition standards.

The update of standards championed by former first lady Michelle Obama is part of USDA’s regulatory reform agenda, developed in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order to eliminate unnecessary regulatory burdens, the agency said in a press release.

USDA in May 2017 pledged to develop strategies to ensure school nutrition standards are both healthy and practical. The new rule:

  • Provides the option to offer flavored, low-fat milk to children participating in school meal programs, and to participants ages six and older in the Special Milk Program for Children and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
  • Requires half of the weekly grains in the school lunch and breakfast menu be whole grain-rich.
  • Provides more time to reduce sodium levels in school meals.

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