Statement of CSPI Vice President for Nutrition Margo G. Wootan
The proposal released today by the Trump administration is a hammer in search of a nail. Virtually 100 percent of schools are already complying with the final nutrition standards, including the first phase of sodium reduction. The USDA should not be allowing dangerously high levels of salt in school meals, which may currently have two-thirds of a day’s sodium, or 1,420 milligrams, in a single high school lunch.
Nine out of 10 school-aged children are eating too much salt, which is why reducing sodium levels in school meals is so important. The USDA should be doubling down on helping schools reduce sodium, not slowing down progress, as the Trump administration proposed today.
It’s just not the case that schools still need additional flexibility to meet the whole-grain requirement. If all schools in Alabama, Idaho, and Montana can serve whole grains to their students, schools in the rest of the states should be able to, as well. Kids don’t need more white flour in meals.
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has concluded that the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is “one of the most important national obesity prevention policy achievements in recent decades.” We should be building on that progress, not impeding it.