U.S. permanently relaxes rules aimed at healthier school meals

WASHINGTON Fri Jan 3, 2014 7:21am IST

Students at Rose Hill Elementary School (L-R) Destiny Huges, Alexis Reubenstein and Sami Escadjeda choose the salad bar for lunch in Commerce City, Colorado May 1, 2012 instead of hamburgers and potatoes that were offered this day. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/Files

Students at Rose Hill Elementary School (L-R) Destiny Huges, Alexis Reubenstein and Sami Escadjeda choose the salad bar for lunch in Commerce City, Colorado May 1, 2012 instead of hamburgers and potatoes that were offered this day.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking/Files

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators said on Thursday they were permanently relaxing school meal rules that were designed to combat childhood obesity by reining in calories and portion sizes but aroused complaints the policies caused students to go hungry.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture had initially loosened the rules in late 2012, suspending daily and weekly maximum amounts for grains and meat or meal alternatives. That allowed school districts to service larger portions without penalty.

"Earlier this school year, USDA made a commitment to school nutrition professionals that we would make the meat and grain flexibility permanent and provide needed stability for long-term planning. We have delivered on that promise," Kevin Concannon, USDA undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, said in a statement.

The announcement was welcomed by North Dakota Republican Senator John Hoeven, who had introduced a bill with Arkansas Democratic Senator Mark Pryor to make the changes permanent.

"Today, the USDA made the permanent changes we have been seeking to the School Lunch Program," Hoeven said in a statement. "A one-size-fits-all approach to school lunch left students hungry and school districts frustrated with the additional expense, paperwork and nutritional research necessary to meet federal requirements. These are exactly the changes included in our Sensible School Lunch Act."

The rules had initially been adopted in 2012 as part of a law designed to improve school breakfasts and lunches. The modifications were aimed at limiting fat and salt, reducing portion sizes and increasing fruit and vegetable servings. Some 31 million children in the United States receive free or low-cost school lunches and more than 10 million get free or discounted breakfasts.

Schools are an important focus because they provide meals to many low-income students, considered to be often the most at risk for being overweight or obese.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney and Ros Krasny; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Mideast Conflict

Mideast Conflict

Israel pounds Gaza despite international peace efforts  Full Article 

New President

New President

Indonesian president-elect Jokowi calls for unity after bitter election.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crash

Ukraine Crash

Putin says will use influence on Ukraine rebels, denounces West.  Full Article 

Probe Sought

Probe Sought

Palestinians seek U.N. inquiry into Israel assault on Gaza   Full Article 

Death of a Spy

Death of a Spy

Britain does U-turn on ex-KGB agent Litvinenko murder inquiry.  Full Article 

Soured Ties

Soured Ties

Turkey's Erdogan acknowledges strains with Obama.  Full Article 

Ferry Disaster

Ferry Disaster

Korea ferry businessman's body found next to book, alcohol bottles.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage