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Lowering the Standard

child getting his school lunch
Recent reports of children being punished and humiliated because of their lunch debt, such as a nine-year old who had his lunch taken away in front of other students on his birthday last month, come as the super rich continue to gain in their share of the economic pie. (Photo: Pixnio)

Brandon Lipps, an Under-Secretary at the USDA, announced a rule change in the federal school lunch program, changing the requirements in place since The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

The rule changes allow that portions of whole grains, fruits and vegetables be replaced by processed and prepackaged foods.

When Michelle Obama was the presidential First Lady, the organic White House garden was not the only result of her efforts to promote nutritional reforms benefitting children.

She is credited with the USDA rule that schools using federal school lunch support meet a proscribed balance of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and observers note that the rule change was announced on her birthday.

The forceful wave that brought Donald Trump to power in Washington came with resentments and loud cries that the federal government cease spending money on poor people, environmental protections, and the health and safety of the citizenry.

In January 2017, President Trump issued an executive order to eliminate unnecessary burdens.

Although many reasons are put forward for the change in school lunch dietary guidelines, primarily financial, citing food waste inherent in the whole foods approach, the rule issued Friday was on the USDA’s Regulatory Reform Agenda.

According to the USDA website,  “The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or no-cost lunches to children each school day. The program was established under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1946.”

They report that in 2016 30.4 million children participated in the program.

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