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New Bill Takes Some Whole Grains Off School Lunch Line

New Bill Takes Some Whole Grains Off Of School Lunch Line

Keeping school lunches healthy has been a priority among education leaders for some time now, and Congress has recently taken another step.

A massive year-end spending bill was released Tuesday that essentially takes some whole grains off of the school lunch line, according to an article on AP.org.

The bill also does not allow schools “to opt out of healthier school meal standards championed by first lady Michelle Obama, as House Republicans had sought,” the article said. But, “it would ease standards that require more whole grains in school foods.”

According to AP, the bill “would put off rules to make school meals less salty, suspending lower sodium standards that were supposed to go into effect in 2017.”

“Some school nutrition directors have lobbied for a break from the standards, which have been phased in since 2012, saying the rules have proven to be costly and restrictive. Some kids don't like the meals, either,” the article said. “House Republicans have said the rules are an overreach, and have fought to ease them.”

Michelle Obama, the article said, claimed that she would “fight ‘to the bitter end’ to make sure kids have good nutrition in schools.”

“Many schools have complained that the whole grain standards are a challenge, especially when preparing popular pastas, biscuits and tortillas,” the article said. “Food service companies don't have as many options in the whole wheat varieties, and preparation can be more difficult, especially with some whole wheat pastas that can be mushy and hard to cook.”

The spending bill, the article said, is expected to become law before the end of the year, and “would allow schools that can demonstrate they have had difficulty finding and affording acceptable whole grain products like pastas and breads to be exempted from 2014 standards requiring all grain products to be mostly whole grain. Those schools would still have to abide by previous guidelines that half of their grain products be mostly whole grain.”

According to the article, Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt, the Republican chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees agriculture issues, said the whole grains waiver is "the best bill we that are going to get.”

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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