News Roundup: 2016 School Lunch Bill


New legislation passed by the senate earlier this week states that while school lunch programs must continue to more forward in offering more nutritious food options, they will have a little longer to do so. In 2012, new rules about the quality of school lunches began being phased in. The rules set fat, sugar and sodium limits on foods in the lunch line and beyond (think a la carte and snack machines). They required more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Although public health officials agree that the shift toward healthier foods at school needed to happen in order to help combat the childhood obesity epidemic, the new food options were met with haste by both the students and the school lunch program officials in schools. Officials argue that the students don’t like the taste of the healthier food options, and therefore, lunch sales are down. The new bill would give schools a little longer to enact the new rules and allow a bit more leeway in phasing in the healthier foods.

This week’s news roundup brings to you a collection of articles and blog posts related to the recently passed Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016, which affects the school lunch program.

Food Fight Fizzles As Senate Nears Compromise on School Nutrition Rules. NPR. “The School Nutrition Association — which represents school cafeteria administrators (or meal program operators) — has lobbied Congress to relax some standards. The group says many cafeterias have lost money, as stricter standards have made it tougher to keep students who pay in the lunch line.

Senate panel approves bill to make school lunches tastier. PBS. “Currently, all grains are required to be whole grain rich, though Congress has allowed some schools to apply for waivers from that requirement. Some school nutrition directors have said they have a hard time finding whole grain pastas, biscuits, grits and tortillas that kids will eat.”

School lunch compromise bill advances in Senate. The Hill. “The Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016 will give schools two more years to reduce sodium levels in the meals they provide to students and allow them to serve at least one bread, pasta or grain product a week that is not made up of at least 51 percent whole grains."

Bipartisan Senate Agreement Proposes More Flexible Nutritional Standards for School Lunch. The Daily Meal. “Thanks to the first lady’s efforts, school lunches have indeed gotten significantly healthier since 2012, and those reforms have gained the support of military veterans, who have compared obesity to an issue of national security. Some school administrators, however, have bristled against Obama’s attempts to direct the way that their students are fed. The new legislation from the Senate, meanwhile, would continue to improve school lunches while giving schools more leeway with details like whole grains.“

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