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Trump's USDA Just Made School Meals Less Healthy

Yet another ill-advised rollback of Obama-era regulations—and this time, it's children who will pay a terrible price.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its revised school meal rules, in words that would make George Orwell proud:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today [Nov. 29] provided local food service professionals the flexibility they need to serve wholesome, nutritious, and tasty meals in schools across the nation. The new School Meal Flexibility Rule ... reflects USDA's commitment, made in a May proclamation to work with program operators, school nutrition professionals, industry, and other stakeholders to develop forward-thinking strategies to ensure school nutrition standards are both healthful and practical ... This action reflects a key initiative of USDA's Regulatory Reform Agenda, developed in response to the President's Executive Order to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens.

Try and get your head around this. The revised rules make school meals less nutritious. They allow schools to:

• Serve flavored rather than plain low-fat milk (higher in sugar).

• Be exempt from serving whole grain-rich products.

• Have until the end of the 2020-2021 school year to reduce the salt in school meals.

This rule will be in effect for the school year 2018-2019. USDA is accepting public comments for longer-term use here.

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