Rest assured, says Cody Williams, food service manager for the Sonoma Valley Unified School District, Sonoma school lunches will remain as healthful as possible -- despite attempts by the Trump administration to weaken school nutrition standards.
According to The Hill, President Trump’s Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, has begun to “roll back the healthy school lunch standards promoted by former first lady Michelle Obama,” because, Perdue says, it’s too hard for schools to comply.
Supposedly to give schools more flexibility, Perdue is “postponing further sodium reductions for at least three years and allowing schools to serve non-whole grain rich products if they are having a hard time meeting the standard.” He said, “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.”
School nutrition watchdog groups, however, say compliance to the standards is at 99 percent.
The Hill also reports that the School Nutrition Association supports Perdue’s efforts to make school food more appealing, with the definition of “healthy food” left up for grabs. The SNA, which counts PepsiCo, General Mills and Domino’s among its most prominent food-industry sponsors, has for years lobbied to make the nutrition standards optional for school districts.
American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown protested the lowering of nutrition standards for kids. “Improving children’s health should be a top priority for the USDA and serving more nutritious foods in schools is a clear-cut way to accomplish this goal,” said Brown.
Some North Bay school nutrition advocates are feeling queasy enough about attempts to waive nutrition standards that they’ve signed a letter to the School Nutrition Association urging them to “adopt solutions to challenges” some schools may have in implementing the standards – and not simply toss them aside.
In a letter signed by Miguel Villarreal, director of food and nutritional services for the Novato Unified School District, members of SNA said:
“We are deeply concerned that the reputation of our organization and its members are being damaged by the ongoing requests to weaken or waive school nutrition standards.”
Williams, meanwhile, stresses that Sonoma schools will continue to do their absolute best to provide healthful school lunches, using the best ingredients possible and having reduced levels of sodium and MSG, while using local vegetables including some raised in our school gardens.