Education Food

House GOP Targets School Menus

What’s the last serious issue House Republicans tackled? I honestly can’t recall myself, but I’m sure they would tell this is very serious.

House Republicans are moving to grant schools waivers to opt out of healthier school menus.

The 2012 rules require that most schools make more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free meals available, and that they reduce salt and trans fat.

The new spending bill for the Agriculture Department requires the agency to waive nutrition requirements for school lunch programs when a “state that verifies a net loss from operating a food service program for a period of at least 6 months that begins on or after July 1, 2013.”

I understand that, in some cases, schools may spend more money on food than they take it, but my question is why is that seen as a major problem?

I don’t believe menu standards should be rolled back because some students would rather eat pizza and fries than whole wheat spaghetti and green beans. The school may lose money in the short term, but by granting a waiver we would be giving negotiating power to children that should not have it.

We should not tell children that if they refuse to buy a school lunch during the Spring, they can eat whatever they want in the Fall because the school was granted a waiver.

To be clear, this is not a widespread problem. The overwhelming majority of schools have had no problem adapting to the new standards. House Republicans are looking to cater to a small number of schools whom I suspect are more worried about dictations from the federal government than the health of their students or expenses.

Senate Democrats are not supportive of the waiver idea, meaning it may not be included in the language of any bill that reaches the president’s desk.