U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will attend the School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) annual meeting in July to discuss school lunch reforms with nutrition professionals, CNS News reports.
“The event will give Secretary Perdue the opportunity to hear first-hand about successes and challenges as schools have worked to improve menus for students while meeting updated nutrition standards for meals and snacks,” the SNA said in a press release obtained by CNS News.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama has been critical of any attempted reforms on the school lunch program while she lived in the White House.
“If we really want to make this country great, then our kids need to be healthy and they need to have access to the best,” Obama said at the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit May 12, according to Politico. “Not just some of them, but all of them.”
She promised to resist any push to reform nutrition standards of school lunches.
Perdue has spoken out against inflexible nutrition programs pushed by former First Lady Michelle Obama. Perdue promised he would loosen restrictions on the dietary policy early May.
“If kids aren’t eating the food, and it’s ending up in the trash, they aren’t getting any nutrition – thus undermining the intent of the program,” Perdue said in a press release.
Perdue has recommended, and Department of Agriculture policy will reflect, that states be allowed to exempt schools having trouble serving 100 percent whole grain options that children enjoy. Sodium standards will be lowered for the 2017-2018 school year and milk options will be expanded with the addition of 1 percent flavored milk, according to the press release.
The SNA supported Perdue’s push to expand local control of school meals at his May announcement.
“School Nutrition Association is appreciative of Secretary Perdue’s support of school meal programs in providing flexibility to prepare and serve healthy meals that are appealing to students,” SNA CEO Patricia Montague said at the time in a press release. “School nutrition professionals are committed to the students they serve and will continue working with USDA and the Secretary to strengthen and protect school meal programs.”
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