Passing on nutrition

House panel votes to allow waivers on school meals.
Associated Press
May 29, 2014


A House committee has endorsed a Republican plan to allow some schools to opt out of healthier meal standards.

The vote comes as first lady Michelle Obama campaigns in support of the standards. On Tuesday, she met with school nutrition officials who said the guidelines are working in their schools.

The rules set by Congress and the Obama administration over the past several years require more fruits, vegetables and whole grains in the lunch line. Also, there are limits on sodium, sugar and fat.

Some school nutrition directors have lobbied for a break, saying the rules have proved to be costly and restrictive.

The Republican provision in an agriculture spending bill would allow schools to opt out of the standards for the next school year if the schools are losing money on meal programs for a six-month period. The House Appropriations Committee rejected, by a 29-22 vote, a Democratic amendment that would have removed the GOP language. A subcommittee approved the spending bill last week.

Republicans have said the standards are overreach.

"Bottom line is schools are finding the regulations to be too much too quick," said Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., who wrote the language. "They need more time."

Democrats said they were concerned the provision was an attempt to permanently roll back the standards.

"We don't tell kids, you don't have to take math if it's hard, science if it's hard," said California Rep. Sam Farr, who offered the amendment to strike the provision.

White House Spokesman Jay Carney said the House language "replaces the judgment of doctors and nutritionists with the opinions of politicians regarding what is healthy for our kids."

The schools pushing for changes say limits on sodium and requirements for more whole grains are particularly challenging, while some school officials say kids are throwing away fruits and vegetables that are required.

The Senate did not include the opt-out language in its version of the spending bill.



Stop It

Moochie tried to drive the bus too far. It's good that she has flashing lights on the tail end, though.


What about 2nd hand smoke? You see these kids in cars with parents smoking and I am sure they do it at home also, But they are worried kids are not eating vegetables and whole grain. I understand that it is one big circle, taxes from this go to that which supports this and that. come on now.


For the life of me I cannot understand why anyone would object to schools offering healthy meals, like they should have been doing from the get go. Children can always pack their lunch if they don't like what the school serves.

JMOP's picture

I understand your point, but another perspective is that not all kids have food available at home to pack everyday. If they don't eat at school, then they don't eat all day.

Some nutrition is better than no nutrition.


And most of the stuff that has been served in schools in the past several years has very little nutritional value, hence the push for healthier meals.
There are plenty of delicious, nutritious meals that most kids would eat if not used to chicken nuggets, french fries, or pizza everyday.


Informed and JMOP, I agree with you both. Why is it too much to ask that kids be provided with healthy meals? Whether or not kids "throw away" their vegetables isn't the point. Saying a kid will just throw away broccoli to justify giving them french fries is short-sighted. Our children need to be healthy to learn. Don't we want healthy, educated kids? Basic health standards in school lunches was mandatory when I was a kid (remember the food pyramid?) I don't recall anyone raging on Reagan for such wild expectations.

Stop It

If they don't eat it and throw it away, what good is there in that?

There you go again

At our school the students are required to get 1 meat, 1 veggie, and 1 fruit. Guess what gets thrown away?!?!


Offering healthy is ok. Offering stuff no one eats and just throws away is not. It is a complete waste of money. For the schools and the parents. Schools are actually losing money from lack kids buying lunch. When the school is wasting money and throwing it away due to kids not eating it, you need to rethink the program.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

The concept is not necessarily what many object to, it is that this law was an attempt at a one-size-fits-all approach from a distant, detached city that is trying to impose one standard on three hundred twenty million citizens (directly or indirectly) when these issues are more than capable of being handled locally. This way each plan is more representative of the geography, demographics, budget, and culture of the people who actually use the school facilities.

This presumption that just because you are in D.C. makes you smarter than the rest of the entire population and can tell them what to do with 100% certainty that THEIR way is the best is ridiculous. This is a local issue, not a Federal one and it is unfair that local schools are being coerced by a budgetary sword of Damocles over their heads to adopt Federal standards yet be held to (sometime scathing) account by the local population.

= = = = = = = = = =
The early apples were now ripening, and the grass of the orchard was littered with windfalls. The animals had assumed as a matter of course that these would be shared out equally; one day, however, the order went forth that all the windfalls were to be collected and brought to the harness-room for the use of the pigs. At this some of the other animals murmured, but it was no use. All the pigs were in full agreement on this point, even Snowball and Napoleon. Squealer was sent to make the necessary explanations to the others.

"Comrades!" he cried. "You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for YOUR sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples. Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Yes, Jones would come back! Surely, comrades," cried Squealer almost pleadingly, skipping from side to side and whisking his tail, "surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones come back?"

Now if there was one thing that the animals were completely certain of, it was that they did not want Jones back. When it was put to them in this light, they had no more to say. The importance of keeping the pigs in good health was all too obvious. So it was agreed without further argument that the milk and the windfall apples (and also the main crop of apples when they ripened) should be reserved for the pigs alone.


Its all processed garbage, anyone can throw GFS slop on a plate. What happened to the school COOKING food?

Whiskey in a Teacup

I agree with that! There are all kinds of ways to PREPARE a healthy meal that kids will possibly EAT

Whiskey in a Teacup

I don't understand why they have to put everything on the tray. Only offer healthy options and let them choose. The same way the food stamp program should be run __but I've said that before. Every roadside produce stand, Amish market what have you, that sells fresher perishables should have incentives to hold an EBT machine. Grocery stores should have limits other than tobacco beer, what not - on what EBT can purchase. You get where I'm going...






Keep wrapping yourself in the Constitution. Be careful though, you will run out of paper in the belly button area. Then what?


Government schools have every right to decide what food they will serve. You don't like it, pack your kid's lunch.


We can't give choices any more because of the "haves and the have nots". The free and reduced lunch crowd didn't have the choice option and the kids that paid for their food could tell who was on the free lunch program. Yet their proud a peacocks to wip out the SNAP card at the grocery store!


When I was growing up if you chose not to eat what was served you went hungry. If you did not like what was served you might get another choice but that is it. Some of you just need to be parents. It's really that simple. Kids don't get to choose everything.


I'm talking about an alacart line. Also that photo is nothing like what the typical school lunch looks like!



dorothy gale

I don't see what's wrong with expecting public schools to PROPERLY nourish our childrens' bodies as well as their minds! If the spoiled brats throw out the healthy food then they must not be too hungry. When my son was a youngster and he refused to eat dinner, I wrapped the plate, put it in the fridge, and it was reheated and served to him at breakfast the next day. He soon learned that vegetables would not poison him, and to eat what I worked hard to buy and prepare for him. Here's a crazy, radical thought: parents might want to try working WITH the schools to ensure their kids eat the healthy food that is served to them. Teach them to be gracious and grateful.