WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives’ Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee today released a funding bill for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies that would weaken nutrition standards for foods sold in schools.
The Pew Charitable Trusts opposes this provision. Jessica Donze Black, an expert with Pew’s initiative on child nutrition, issued this statement:
“We are disappointed that the House of Representatives’ agriculture appropriations bill includes a provision that would weaken national nutrition standards for foods served in schools. While we commend the subcommittee for including grants to fund school equipment needed to serve healthy meals, it is unfortunate that the House would consider letting schools opt out of efforts to improve the health of children served through these programs.
“Promoting the health of the nation’s children must remain the top priority of the National School Lunch Program, just as it is for the vast majority of voters, who support strengthening nutrition standards in schools. We know that strong school nutrition standards are an effective strategy to prevent childhood obesity and the lifelong health problems it can create. We urge the House Appropriations Committee to drop this provision from the bill so that we may continue the progress that so many schools have made.
“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 USDA is listening to school leaders, parents, and students and has demonstrated that areas of concern—such as limits on servings of proteins and grains—can be addressed without new legislation.
The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Learn more at www.pewtrusts.org.