Education

States Sue Trump Administration Over Changes To Obama-Era School Lunch Standards

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Neetu Chandak Education and Politics Reporter

Several states along with the District of Columbia filed a complaint against the Trump administration Wednesday over the changes to school lunch standards they argue could deny “30 million students access to healthy nutritious meals.”

New York, Illinois, California, Minnesota, New Mexico and Vermont were the states that filed the suit against the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Agriculture Food and Nutritional Service and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

The complaint argued the Trump administration’s Department of Agriculture (USDA) “significantly weakened” federal standards and did not give the “public notice of and an opportunity to comment on the 2018 changes.”

“By gutting the whole-grain standards and halting the progress in reducing sodium, the Trump administration risks stymieing [sic] this great progress and denying 30 million students access to healthy nutritious meals,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said at a news conference, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The 2012 Obama-era rule, advocated by former first lady Michelle Obama, limited sodium intake and increased whole grains served in schools.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama talks to local elementary school students after picking vegetables with them during the annual fall harvest of the White House Kitchen Garden at the White House in Washington, October 6, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama talks to local elementary school students after picking vegetables with them during the annual fall harvest of the White House Kitchen Garden at the White House in Washington, October 6, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

“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, according to a 2017 press release.

The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted program that provides students with healthy meals at little to no cost in schools, according to USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.

“The Trump Administration has undermined key health benefits for our children — standards for salt and whole grains in school meals — with deliberate disregard for science, expert opinion, and the law,” James said in a statement.

A 2014 study questioned the government’s assumption regarding low sodium content, however. (RELATED: Years After Obama’s School Lunch Rules, Kids Fatter Than Ever)

“There is no longer any valid basis for the current salt guidelines,” McMaster University professor and one of the study’s authors Andrew Mente told The Washington Post. “So why are we still scaring people about salt?”

Liberal advocacy groups Center for Science in the Public Interest and Healthy School Food Maryland also filed a similar complaint against the loosened standards, TheWSJ reported.

The USDA told The Daily Caller News Foundation it does not comment on pending litigation.

Follow Neetu on Twitter

Send tips to: neetu@dailycallernewsfoundation.org

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.