Trump Scraps Michelle Obama's School Nutrition Program - On Her Birthday
White House dumps school lunch plan pushed by former first lady
President Donald Trump's administration has announced it is scrapping the school nutrition program pushed by Michelle Obama during her time as the first lady.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed it is dumping the plan on Friday - Michelle Obama's 56th birthday - sending Democrats into a meltdown.
The USDA said in a statement that the rule change will allow schools increased flexibility for which fruits and vegetables they can offer students.
“Schools and school districts continue to tell us that there is still too much food waste and that more common-sense flexibility is needed to provide students nutritious and appetizing meals,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
"We listened and now we’re getting to work."
The announcement follows the 2017 decision by the Agriculture Department to roll back nutrition standards for federally subsidized school meals due to excess food waste.
In 2012, the Obama administration toughened standards on nutrition that schools had been required to follow.
By adhering to the plan, schools would receive federal reimbursement for free and reduced-price meals for low-income students.
Perdue’s announcement restores local control of guidelines on whole grains, sodium, and milk in the National School Lunch Program.
It does not spell out changes with fruits, vegetables, and protein.
“This announcement is the result of years of feedback from students, schools and food service experts about the challenges they are facing in meeting the final regulations for school meals,” Perdue said in a release at the time.
The USDA said that the new proposals would give “school nutrition professionals … more flexibility to serve appetizing and healthy meals that appeal to their students’ preferences and subsequently reduce food waste.
"The proposed rule also encourages state and local operators to focus resources on feeding children rather than administrative paperwork,” Perdue said.
“Our proposed changes empower schools to give their very best to our children nationwide and have the potential to benefit nearly 100,000 schools and institutions that feed 30 million children each school day through USDA’s school meal programs.
"Providing children with wholesome, nutritious food is part of our motto at USDA, which is to ‘do right and feed everyone.’”
The USDA said that the first proposed rule aimed to ensure that kids still receive quality nutrition while at the same time giving flexibility to local school districts to serve kids food that they actually are willing to eat in an effort to reduce waste.
The USDA said they planned to accomplish this by:
- Allowing local schools to offer more vegetable varieties, while keeping plenty of veggies in each meal; Making it easier for schools to offer school lunch entrees for a la carte purchase, thereby reducing food waste;
- Providing schools options to customize meal patterns to best serve children in different grades or smaller schools who eat together;
- Supporting a more customized school breakfast environment by letting schools adjust fruit servings and making it simpler to offer meats/meat alternates, ultimately encouraging breakfast options outside the cafeteria so students can start their day with a healthy breakfast; and
- Shifting to a performance-focused administrative review process that is less burdensome and time consuming, which would increase collaboration with operators to improve program integrity.
The USDA said that the second proposal aims to reform the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which serves millions of at-risk kids during the summer months when they do not have access to meals at school.
The proposal offers more local control by:
- Providing more flexibilities in choosing meal offerings, meal service times, and allowing children to take certain nonperishable food items offsite;
- Granting tested and proven flexibilities that make it easier for sponsors and sites to participate by reducing paperwork and streamlining the application process for high-performing, experienced operators;
- Balancing program integrity and flexibility with stronger monitoring to help sponsors maximize their resources; and
- Clarifying performance standards and eligibility requirements for sites.
The New York Times reported that Democrats on Capitol Hill believed that the Trump administration intentionally rolled this out on Michelle Obama’s birthday, even though a USDA spokesperson said that was not the case.
“Democrats reacted furiously,” the NYT stated.
Far-left Democrat Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA) fumed over the announcement, writing on Twitter: “Egregious. The Occupant is trying to play petty with the food our babies eat.
"Add it to the list affirming that the cruelty is the point with this White House.”
Far-left Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN) fired back, suggesting that the government should provide all the food that kids eat: “Counter proposal: make *healthy* school meals universal year-round.
"The #UniversalSchoolMealsProgramAct will guarantee breakfast, lunch, and dinner for every student in America.”