Trump Administration Continues Assault on School Kids’ Meals

Statement of CSPI Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs Colin Schwartz

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The Trump Administration’s assault on children’s health continues today under the guise of “simplifying” school meals. The proposed rule would allow anything that might be allowable as an entrée on any one school day to be served as an a la carte item every single day. In practice, if finalized, this would create a huge loophole in school nutrition guidelines, paving the way for children to choose pizza, burgers, French fries, and other foods high in calories, saturated fat or sodium in place of balanced school meals every day.

The Trump administration proposal also would limit the variety of vegetables served at lunch and allow schools to reduce the amount of fruit served with some breakfasts. (If past is prologue, lobbyists for the potato industry likely have replacements in mind.) And this is hardly the Trump administration’s first attempt to weaken school nutrition. It earlier rolled back requirements for whole grains and sodium in kids’ meals—moves that are now the subject of two ongoing lawsuits by CSPI and partners and by a group of state attorneys general.

The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 has been called one of the most important obesity-prevention policy achievements in recent decades. Yet the Trump administration seems intent on sabotaging it. While there’s plenty of room to strengthen school nutrition further, these proposals instead are basically aiming a flamethrower at it.