Congress vs USDA on Lunches

Congress is fighting to keep pizza and French fries in school cafeterias despite initiatives to make lunches healthier.


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Congress released a spending bill early last week that blocks the US Department of Agriculture’s proposed changes to school-lunch standards, which urge limiting potatoes and sodium and boosting the use of whole grains. Congress’ bill blocks or delays the aforementioned initiatives, as well as maintains that the roughly two tablespoons of tomato paste on a slice of pizza be considered a vegetable. The USDA’s proposal was based on input from the Institute of Medicine, which hoped to reduce childhood obesity and future health care costs. Frozen-pizza suppliers for schools, as well as salt companies and potato farmers, were among the strongest proponents lobbying Congress to change the USDA’s standards.

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