Statement of CSPI Federal Child Nutrition Campaign Manager Meghan Maroney

When we improve the nutritional quality of school meals, the return on our investment is huge.  

In the short term, healthy, nourished kids are better learners. In the medium and long term, healthier kids are more likely to be healthier adults at less risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.

That’s why setting an added sugars standard for school meals is such a big deal. Particularly at breakfast, where cereals, flavored milks, and even yogurts can have too much added sugar to fit into a healthy diet, USDA’s final rule will bring added sugars down to safer levels in alignment with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Under the rule released today, school meals will be allowed to contain much more sodium than they should—a missed opportunity given that nine out of 10 kids consume too much sodium. We at CSPI encourage school food service directors to meet and exceed the standards that USDA has announced, urge industry to continue to innovate and reduce sodium, and encourage Congress, state legislatures and school boards to give schools the support and resources they need to succeed.  

We’re grateful for the leadership of Secretary Vilsack, who was present at the creation of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the landmark law which helped make these updates possible. He knows better than most that the work to improve school meals is a marathon not a sprint.

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