The Trump administration has said it wants to remove burdensome regulation, and on Monday it served up a taste of what that looks like when it comes to two aspects of food policy: school lunch and calorie labels on menus.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a plan to delay a mandate that would require schools to further reduce sodium levels in the meals they serve. In addition, Perdue wants to give the green light to schools that want to serve some grains that aren’t whole-grain rich.
“We all know that kids are pretty outspoken about what they want to eat and what they don’t,” Perdue said, adding, “We’ve got to balance the nutritional aspect with the palatability.”
He told a crowd gathered at a school cafeteria in Leesburg, Va., that he’s listened to kids, parents and school administrators, many of whom have been pushing for more flexibility in implementing nutrition standards that were enacted during the Obama administration.
The news brought the ire of many nutrition and child-welfare advocates who view these changes as a roll-back of the reforms championed by former first lady Michelle Obama.
“Just because children would rather eat heavily salted, processed foods at school doesn’t mean they should,” Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said in a statement. “The president’s fondness for Big Macs and KFC is well known, but we shouldn’t let Colonel Sanders and McDonald’s run the school cafeteria.