WASHINGTON, D.C. | October 31, 2012
Dear Mr. Dodaro:
In December 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
was signed into law, enacting the most comprehensive changes to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in more than 15 years. Among the most significant change was a requirement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) update nutrition standards for school meal programs. These new requirements, which recently went into effect, impose a calorie minimum and, for the first time, a calorie maximum for school lunches. The rules provide detailed guidance on the types and quantities of foods to be included in meals, such as a daily serving of fruit, a daily serving of vegetables, and weekly requirements as to the types of vegetables, meats, and whole grain-rich foods served to all students.
Since the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, state and local officials, parents, and students have raised concerns about a number of these changes, specifically the adequacy of the calorie maximum, the cost of the new requirements, and increased food waste in school cafeterias. Many schools are concerned the requirements limit their flexibility and make it more difficult to adapt their menus to meet the preferences and needs of their students and school communities.
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