According to the latest USDA data, 95% of schools are successfully meeting the updated meal standards required by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in a statement said, “Updated healthy school meal standards were created based on the expert advice of pediatricians and nutrition experts and are being widely embraced by students, parents, educators and nutrition professionals. We are very encouraged that 95% of schools are now successfully providing more nutritious meals to their students. Now that we are close to the finish line, it would be unwise to roll back healthy meal standards just as they are beginning to work to ensure our kids have access to the balanced, nutritious food doctors recommend.”
Vilsack said that the USDA would continue to work with schools in providing funding, training and flexibility so that 100% of schools will be successful. Updated meal standards will be an issue as Congress reauthorizes the child nutrition programs this year. The School Nutrition Association is asking that the whole-grains standard that was implemented in 2014 be rolled back and the requirement that schools provide at least half a cup of fruits and vegetables per day be dropped.