Statement of CSPI Policy Director Laura MacCleery

Strong leadership at the U.S. Department of Agriculture is essential. The decisions of the agency directly impact the health of more than 30 million school children, two-thirds of whom are from lower-income families. There is no other lever we have that can as simply improve the diets of millions of kids while ensuring that every child benefits equally from sound nutrition. We all have witnessed over the past four years what happens to school foods when USDA leadership plays politics with children's health and disregards the clear science behind recommendations on sodium, whole grains, and added sugars. 

Following our successful litigation against the department, we are again hopeful that USDA will once again center equity and health. We are delighted that Secretary Vilsack has chosen Stacy Dean, Sara Bleich, and Kumar Chandran to help lead the agency. It is imperative that the department be guided by the right values, as well as science, experience, and compassion, and we are confident that Secretary Vilsack will be well advised by such a visionary team.