On his sixth day on the job in 2017, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue made chocolate milk safe for schools again, along with white flour and salt, in the name of regulatory flexibility. Those revisions to the school food program became final in late 2018. The USDA will propose a new round of "common-sense flexibility" for school meals this week, says Perdue. Skeptics said it will mean more pizza, burgers and fries and fewer servings of fruits and vegetables.
Congress can remove a roadblock to good nutrition by eliminating the reduced-price category for school lunches and breakfasts, and making the meals free for lower-income children, said the School Nutrition Association on Monday. Roughly 6 percent of lunches and 9 percent of breakfasts served at schools nationwide are sold at reduced prices of 40 cents for lunch and 30 cents for breakfast.
In Jennifer E. Gaddis’s new book, The Labor of Lunch: Why We Need real Food and Real Jobs in American Public Schools, school lunch is the framework for serious thinking about politics and people power. Gaddis makes the case that to reform school food, we need better working conditions and pay for cafeteria workers in addition to more nutritious ingredients. I asked Gaddis, an assistant professor of civil society and community studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to discuss the pillars of her research and how school food policy should move forward.(No paywall)
Bettina Elias Siegel’s new book, Kid Food: The Challenge of Feeding Children in a Highly Processed World, is an entertaining primer for anxious parents on the myriad ways that America’s food system is designed to frustrate their best efforts to feed their kids a healthy diet—and what can be done to push back and, hopefully, change that system.(No paywall)
The Trump administration proposal for stricter SNAP eligibility rules will "cut off millions of needy households from basic food aid" and should be withdrawn, said the American Medical Association, the largest U.S. doctors' group, on Monday. Fifteen Democratic senators, including all Democrats on the Senate Agriculture Committee, which oversees the food stamp program, also called for withdrawal of the SNAP proposal.
After two years with a title that suggested he was a placeholder, Brandon Lipps formally became deputy undersecretary for nutrition at the Agriculture Department on Monday. The Trump administration has not filled the top nutrition post at USDA, so Lipps will continue to run programs such as SNAP and school lunch, as he has since July 2017.
Participation in federally funded summer nutrition programs, which provide meals for low-income children when school is out of session, is down by 10 percent since 2015, said the anti-hunger Food Research and Action Center in a report today. Work in Congress to update USDA’s child nutrition …
Nearly 13.6 million students are now receiving free breakfast and lunch through the community eligibility program, a federal initiative that has previously been targeted for cuts by Republicans, according to a new report. That figure is a 14-percent increase in the past year alone.
With Congress in the early stages of updating child nutrition programs costing $30 billion a year, researchers say the nutritional quality of school meals increased by more than 40 percent following a 2010 mandate to serve healthier food. The first comprehensive study of the 2010 reforms also found that student participation rates were highest in the schools that served higher-quality meals.