Federal nutrition assistance at risk in a long-running shutdown

Two of the major public nutrition programs, SNAP and WIC, could run out of money if the partial government shutdown persists into February and beyond, affecting millions of people. While the USDA says funding is assured for this month, it is not as clear about what to expect in the future.

Perdue completes overhaul of school food rules

In 2017, on just his sixth day in office, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue made chocolate milk safe for schools again, along with white flour and salt, in the name of “regulatory flexibility” for school food programs. On Thursday, the USDA said it will make those changes permanent.

World Food Prize awarded to pair for work on maternal and child nutrition

Two nutrition advocates whose focus on maternal and child nutrition helped reduce the number of stunted children in the world by 10 million in five years are the winners of the World Food Prize for 2018, the award’s sponsor announced on Monday.

Slower growth in school breakfast participation

About half as many children take part in the school breakfast program as the more than 30 million who eat a hot meal through the school lunch program, according to USDA's most recent data. The government and the anti-hunger group Food Research and Action Center say that participation in school breakfast grew at a slower rate during the 2016-17 school year than it did in previous years.

USDA releases a food-buying app for smartphones

Declaring it “a major step forward” for food service workers, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service released its first mobile app, which the agency said will make it easier to serve healthy and tasty meals through its child nutrition programs.

Public spotlight does little to stop ‘lunch shaming’ in schools

Seven months after New Mexico passed a state law against “lunch shaming,” progress to end the practice is slow, writes school-food blogger Bettina Elias Siegel on Civil Eats.

U.S. food insecurity rate stable, which means millions still go hungry

An estimated 12.3 percent of U.S. households were food insecure in 2016, essentially unchanged from 12.7 percent in 2015, the USDA Economic Research Service said. But the figures still mean that more than 41 million Americans, or 15.6 million households, don’t get enough food.

Seven big school districts say they won’t relax school lunch standards

Seven of the largest school districts in the nation say they won’t relax school lunch standards despite Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s offer of flexibility in school meals.

Perdue calls it a slowdown, critics say it’s a rollback of healthy school lunch rules

When the 2017/18 school year opens in late summer, public schools will not have to use more whole grains and less salt in their cafeteria meals unless they want to, and they will be allowed to sell 1 percent flavored milk, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Although he said he was giving schools more flexibility, consumer groups and lawmakers said Perdue was rolling back school-lunch reforms launched under an Obama-era initiative against child obesity.