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Committee Members Ask USDA Secretary Vilsack to Reexamine Controversial School Lunch Requirements

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

Over the last month, state and local food service personnel, teachers, parents, and students have expressed concern about the recent meal pattern and nutrition requirements for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to recent reports, high school students, especially athletes, are going hungry a few hours after lunch because of the 850 calorie maximum; school cafeterias are seeing increased levels of food waste as many students throw away the fruit and vegetables they are required to take; and many state and school officials are experiencing dramatic increases in the cost of administering school lunch and breakfast programs.

We are disappointed USDA has refused to address these concerns and instead continues to push a one-size-fits-all policy that ties the hands of local school lunch providers. We urge you to provide state and local food service personnel with the flexibility to adjust the nutrition requirements, including changes to the calorie maximum, to ensure they are providing school meals that meet the needs of their diverse student body. Until such a decision is made, we request USDA staff provide regular updates to our staff, including participating in meetings and conference calls, to enable us to monitor implementation of the department’s actions.

To read the full letter, click here.

To read a response from Secretary Vilsack, click here

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