by Marion Nestle
May 20 2014

Update on Congress vs. school nutrition standards

The Associated Press reported that First Lady Michelle Obama rallied supporters of the USDA’s nutrition standards for school meals in an off-the-record telephone call “with advocacy groups to discuss ongoing efforts around school nutrition and the significant advancements we have made to make it easier for families to raise healthy kids.”

Screenshot 2014-05-19 21.58.14

Today the House Committee on Appropriations is doing its markup on the agricultural appropriations bill.  This is likely to overturn nutrition standards established by scientific experts in order to:

  • Reverse USDA’s nutrition standards for school meals.
  • Reverse the exclusion of white potatoes from the WIC package.

As Politico puts it,

In the case of WIC and white potatoes, the provision follows on strong lobbying by the industry which is hoping to win similar language Thursday when the full Senate Appropriations Committee is slated to consider its own version of the same agriculture bill.

…For the industry, concerned that younger women have moved away from potatoes, gaining access to WIC is an important marketing tool.

Just as strongly, critics worry that the end result will be to open the door to other special interests and wreck a long-standing commitment by Congress to let independent scientists decide what foods are most needed.

As I see it, the food industry couldn’t get its way through the usual rulemaking processes, so it did an end run and got Congress to overturn the work of no less than three committees of the Institute of Medicine.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack explains what’s at stake:

The House bill would undermine the effort to provide kids with more nutritious food and would be a major step backwards for the health of American children, just at the time childhood obesity rates are finally starting to level off. School nutrition standards are developed by independent experts, over 90% of schools report that they are successfully implementing them, and studies show they are working to help kids be healthier. USDA has continued to show flexibility in implementing these new standards, and Congress should focus on partnering with USDA, states, schools, and parents to help our kids have access to more healthy food, not less.

In an e-mail, the Pew Charitable Trusts wrote:

We are disappointed that the House agriculture appropriations bill includes a provision that would weaken national nutrition standards for foods served in schools…it is unfortunate that the House would consider letting schools opt out of efforts to improve the health of children served through these program…Ninety percent of schools already report that they are meeting USDA’s updated nutrition standards for school lunches. Turning back now would be a costly mistake.”

The School Nutrition Association disagrees.  In its version of reality, “since these standards took effect, more than one million fewer students choose school lunch each day, reducing revenue for school meal programs already struggling to manage the increased cost of preparing meals under the new standards.”

To this, Claire Benjamin of Food Policy Action, asks:

Why are Members fighting to roll back school nutrition standards? Our nation is facing a health and obesity crisis, and rather than think about the future of our children the members pushing for these rollbacks are only thinking about future campaign contributions,” said Claire Benjamin, managing director of Food Policy Action (FPA). “Schools have already made real progress implementing the reforms, and it is extremely disappointing that some members of Congress are advocating for business as usual.”

Other responses:

Write your Congressional representatives and ask them to leave nutrition standards to scientists, not food companies with vested interests in selling their products to government food assistance programs.

Additions, May 20:

Addition, May 21:

Addition, May 24:

  • Major General says school nutrition standards are a matter of national security
  • TheLunchTray

    Marion: In a post today on The Lunch Tray, I examine the degree to which this effort is driven by the food industry versus other factors relating to the National School Lunch Program. I believe Big Food’s interests are served here, of course, but I don’t think it’s the whole story: http://www.thelunchtray.com/school-food-professionals-vs-kids-how-did-it-come-to-this/ Would love your thoughts as well.

  • Debra Oakley

    Dear Dr. Nestle: I shared this with the WIC Nutrition Director for the Lowcountry, Karla Beckwith, MS, RD. I am currently working for WIC in Beaufort, SC, and I am a former NYU Bronx VA intern class of 1994. I can’t even get the snack machine vendor for the Health Department to sell healthy foods because it would cause a loss in profits to the SC Assn. for the Blind. So frustrating. Kind regards, Debra (Strittmatter) Oakley

  • Pingback: Update on Congress vs. school nutrition standards - Exploring the News

  • http://www.dadiehost.com/ Dadie Host

    I have just finished reading the article you wrote on Nutrition
    standards, School nutrition standards & School Nutrition
    Association. I want to tell you how much I appreciated your clearly
    written and thought-provoking article.

  • Topic_interests_me

    If I understand the proposed legislation, it is just allowing a HOLD on the changes scheduled for 2014-2015 for schools who are losing money. Healthy Hunger Free kids Act of 2010 brought a lot of mandated changes to school meals in 2012, but each year since, something else is added, until everything goes into effect in 2023. In the next school year, 1.) the first sodium limits go into effect, 2.) ALL grains served must be at least 50% whole grain, 3). students must take a fruit or vegetable at both breakfast and lunch 4) All food sales at school must meet fat, sodium, calorie and other nutrition standards (bakesales, vending, ala carte etc) Just this week, USDA allowed for a waiver system for allowing for non 50% whole grain pasta for the next two school years– which I’m guessing was a compromise USDA made with the School Nutrition Association. (Call it the ” Grainy Chicken Noodle Soup” compromise, I guess) The waiver that is still under proposal is that school food systems that have been losing money (documented) over the past 6 months can request the waiver from the UPGRADED standards for 2014-2015, not a backslide to pre-2012 standards. Working in the field, I can see both sides of the argument, and will decline to take a stand on it– and just watch from a safe distance.

  • http://www.military.com/spouse/military-deployment/reintegration/returning-to-home-life-after-deployment.html How To Stop A Divorce

    How To Stop A Divorce And Save Your Marriage?(Dr.Brave).

    Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Jeffrey Dowling,i live in TEXAS,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(bravespellcaster@gmail.com}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly email this wonderful man {bravespellcaster@gmail.com},i f you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com}, Thanks..

  • Pingback: Update on Congress vs. school nutrition standards | Chef Treana FamilyChef

  • Pingback: When Did School Lunch Become a Political Issue? | vMambo News

  • Pingback: Food Politics » Update on Congress vs. sc...

  • Pingback: First Lady Meets with Leaders in School Nutrition to Hear from them Firsthand - Israel Foreign Affairs

  • Pingback: Let’s Move! on the move to rescue school nutrition standards | ACNE MARKS

  • Pingback: Let’s Move! on the move to rescue school nutrition standards | Acne Scars

  • Pingback: Let’s Move! on the move to rescue school nutrition standards | Alternative Therapies

  • Pingback: Let’s Move! on the move to rescue school nutrition standards | About Arthritis Pain

  • Pingback: Food Politics » Update on Congress vs. school nutrition standards | Information Society

  • Laura Zamora

    !!! How To Get Your BEST CURE TO YOUR HIV AND AID Immediately !!!

    I have been suffering hardship from HIV/AIDS since 7yrs now, and i happen to have 2 kids for my husband, and now we cannot proceed to have another kids all because of my disease and now i have do all what a human like i and my husband can do just to get my disease healed, i have went to several places to seek for help not even one person could ever help, until i melt a comment on the daily news paper that was commented by CLARA about how this powerful doctor help him get cured of the disease (HIV-AIDS) ” my fellow beloved” i firstly taught having a help from a African doctor was a wrong idea, but i think of these, will i continue to stress on these disease all day when i have someone to help me save my life?” so i gather all my faiths and put in all interest to contact him through his Email address at (solomonhabelhealingcenter@gmail.com), so after i have mailed him of helping get my disease cured, he respond to me fast as possible that i should not be afraid, that he is a truthful and powerful doctor which i firstly claimed him to be. So after all set has been done, he promise me that i will be healed but on a condition that i provide him some items and obeyed all he said. I did all by accepting his Words fact and only to see that after some weeks of taking his herbal medicine i notice some changes in my body system and i went for check up the day he ask me to go for check up to confirm if the sickness was still there,to my greatest surprise i could not find any sickness in my body i was first shocked and later arise to be the happiest woman on earth after i have concluded my final test on the hospital by my doctor that i am now HIV- Negative. My papers for check are with me and now i am happy and glad for his miraculous help and power. With these i must tell everyone who might seek for any help, either for HIV cure or much more to contact him now at these following email now, Email: (solomonhabelhealingcenter@gmail.com) sir thank you so much for your immediate cure of my disease, i must say a big thanks for curing my disease, i owe you in return. Thanks and be blessed sir Laura Zamora

  • Pingback: Brown Bag or Plastic Tray? | Selene River Press

  • Emma Jurgens

    My life almost got destroyed from los angeles califonia, Thanks to the God sent DR NICE who rescued me out of my marriage problems NOW, to achieve all that you desire in life to live a happy life, contact great Dr NICE temple for a betterment of life. i am very happy today to tell the world how great he is because how of much he help me, bring me out of shame and make me smile again just when i thought my life has be concluded in pain and miserable because my man left me when i was two week pregnant then i was advice by my doctor not to work due to my health challenge else i will lose my baby. so i use all the money i have to take care of my unborn child and my self till the seventh months of my pregnancy then i was broke and in pain. life was so difficult till i melt an old college friend who told me about her past life problem and how great Dr NICE help her. then i ask her how to meet or contact the man and she gave me drniceharbelhealinghome@gmail.com to contact him. though i never believe he can help me because i have meet some persons before now and they did not help me. Dr NICE demanded for items to help me bring my man back though i was broke i have to meet my mother to help me because i really love my man and he is working and earn well. so did all that DR NICE ask me to do, I was very shocked when Daniel called four days after i sent Dr NICE the items money. He apologies for all he has done wrong and i should allow him back to my heart. sincerely i am very happy that we are together and my child now know and also live with his dad. sir the Great Dr i am very grateful and happy for what you have done for me. To those that have marriage, relationship or health problem, I will advise you to contact Dr NICE now via email drniceharbelhealinghome@gmail.com because he has done wonders in my life and i believe he can help you out in any problem.
    contact him now via email drniceharbelhealinghome@gmail.com

  • Emma Jurgens

    My life almost got destroyed drezal from los angeles califonia, Thanks to the God sent DR NICE who rescued me out of my marriage problems NOW, to achieve all that you desire in life to live a happy life, contact great Dr NICE temple for a betterment of life. i am very happy today to tell the world how great he is because how of much he help me, bring me out of shame and make me smile again just when i thought my life has be concluded in pain and miserable because my man left me when i was two week pregnant then i was advice by my doctor not to work due to my health challenge else i will lose my baby. so i use all the money i have to take care of my unborn child and my self till the seventh months of my pregnancy then i was broke and in pain. life was so difficult till i melt an old college friend who told me about her past life problem and how great Dr NICE help her. then i ask her how to meet or contact the man and she gave me drniceharbelhealinghome@gmail.com to contact him. though i never believe he can help me because i have meet some persons before now and they did not help me. Dr NICE demanded for items to help me bring my man back though i was broke i have to meet my mother to help me because i really love my man and he is working and earn well. so did all that DR NICE ask me to do, I was very shocked when Daniel called four days after i sent Dr NICE the items money. He apologies for all he has done wrong and i should allow him back to my heart. sincerely i am very happy that we are together and my child now know and also live with his dad. sir the Great Dr i am very grateful and happy for what you have done for me. To those that have marriage, relationship or health problem, I will advise you to contact Dr NICE now via email drniceharbelhealinghome@gmail.com because he has done wonders in my life and i believe he can help you out in any problem.
    contact him now via email drniceharbelhealinghome@gmail.com