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Trump's School-Lunch Rules: Fewer Fruits, Veggies, More Burgers, Fries

The proposal, which would reverse rules advocated by Michelle Obama, are designed to reduce food waste and allow for more "appetizing" meals, the USDA says.




New rules proposed by the USDA Friday would allow schools to cut back on fruits and vegetables served for school lunches and breakfasts and add more pizza, burgers and fries.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the new rules will give schools "more flexibility to serve appetizing and healthy meals that appeal to their students’ preferences and subsequently reduce food waste," according to a press release.

Critics, however, see the proposed changes as an attempt to roll back regulations pushed by former First Lady and healthy-eating advocate Michelle Obama, whose birthday was Friday.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, in announcing the changes, said schools have complained that under the Obama-era rules, food is being wasted and that they wanted more options to offer "nutritious and appetizing meals."

 A USDA official, quoted by the Washington Post, said schools that wanted to provide meals in a classroom or off a cart, rather than in a cafeteria, had to give kids two bananas in order to meet federal requirements.

But Colin Schwartz, of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the Trump administration's proposed rules changes were pushed in part by the potato lobby and would allow french fries to become a bigger part of the school lunch. 

"The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 has been called one of the most important obesity-prevention policy achievements in recent decades,” Schwartz said. “Yet the Trump administration seems intent on sabotaging it."

 

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