The US Department of Agriculture has announced new rules for school lunches, which could see the fruit and veggies championed by Michelle Obama replaced by pizza and fries. The changes were announced on ex-First Lady’s birthday.
USDA Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps revealed the changes on Friday. Aimed at reducing food waste, the new rules will allow schools to cut the amount of fruit and vegetables served at breakfast and lunch, effectively freeing them up to make up the calories with pizza, burgers, fries and snacks.
Food industry lobbyists have been pushing for such changes since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Until now, federal guidelines mandated that schoolkids fed by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service – nearly 30 million of them in 99,000 schools – received lowfat milk, reduced portion sizes, more fruit and vegetables, and less salt, sugar and fat.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was the signature achievement of former First Lady Michelle Obama, and given that the McDonald’s-loving commander-in-chief has dedicated much of his presidency to tearing down the legacy of Barack Obama, it’s hard to imagine Trump didn’t have a hand in choosing Friday – Michelle Obama’s birthday – for the USDA’s announcement.
The move may prove unpopular with parents and nutritionists, but schoolkids themselves will no doubt be happy. When the Obama-era lunches hit cafeterias in 2014, children shared photos of their lunch trays on Twitter, complaining about the “gross” meals they were served.
These same kids took to Twitter again on Friday to hound the former First Lady for “ruining school lunch.”
Last year, as the Trump administration rolled back restrictions on milk and sodium content in school lunches, the USDA concluded in a report that the Obama lunch plan “had a positive and significant influence on nutritional quality,” and cut down on “empty calories” served to students.