Trump administration to roll back some school meal standards

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is ready to roll back some nutrition standards for federally subsidized school meals, reversing elements of first lady Michelle Obama’s healthy eating initiative.

In his first major act in the Cabinet, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is planning an announcement Monday afternoon at an elementary school in the Washington suburb of Leesburg, Virginia. The Agriculture Department said ahead of the announcement that a new rule would provide “regulatory flexibility,” though officials did not say what the changes would be.

The School Nutrition Association, which represents school nutrition directors and companies that sell food to schools, has said many of the standards are unworkable and lobbied to roll them back. They have argued for changes to whole grain and sodium requirements, in particular, saying it’s hard to make foods that are high enough in whole grains and low enough in sodium that kids will eat.

They have also lobbied for more flexibility in rules that require kids to eat fruits and vegetables, saying those often get thrown away.

The Leesburg event is in the school district of the association’s president, Becky Domokos-Bays, and she is scheduled to attend the event.

The association often clashed with the Obama administration, which phased in the healthier school meal rules starting in 2012. Obama pushed the changes as part of her Let’s Move campaign to combat childhood obesity.

The rules set fat, sugar and sodium limits on foods in the lunch line and beyond. Schools have long been required to follow government nutrition rules if they accept federal reimbursements for free and reduced-price meals for low-income students, but the Obama administration’s standards were stricter.

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