Trump administration proposes school nutrition guidelines with less fruit, vegetables

The Trump administration proposed Jan. 17 new school nutrition standards that would roll back efforts by former first lady Michelle Obama, the New York Times reports.

The Agriculture Department proposal would give schools more leeway when determining how much fruit to offer during breakfast and what types of vegetables to include in meals. It also would broaden the definition of "snack."   

Food companies voiced approval of the rollback, while nutritionists criticized it, predicting potatoes would replace green vegetables and foods like hamburgers could be served as "snacks." 

"Schools and school districts continue to tell us that there is still too much food waste and that more common-sense flexibility is needed to provide students nutritious and appetizing meals," Sonny Perdue, U.S. secretary of agriculture, said in a news release. The department plans to open the public comment period on the bill this month.

The proposal would also let schools offer lunch entrees for à la carte purchase to reduce waste. This could create a "giant junk food loophole," the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity told the NYT.

Ms. Obama's work "improved the diets of millions of children, especially vulnerable children in food insecure households," Juliana Cohen, nutrition professor at Cambridge, Mass.-based Harvard University's School of Public Health, told the NYT. "Food waste was a problem before the healthier standards were enacted, so rolling them back won't solve that problem."

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