Saturday, January 18, 2020

Taking Your Lunch Money

One of the major goals of the Trump regime is to remove all traces of the Obama administration, by destroying and then taking credit for recreating what worked (NAFTA vs. USMCA, VA Choice program vs. VA MISSION Act, etc) and just flat-out destroying whatever he and the base dislike, especially environment and health stuff such as light bulb regulations, toilet flow rules, and in this case, Michelle Obama's healthy school lunch guidelines.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has taken another whack at former first lady Michelle Obama’s signature achievement: Establishing stricter nutritional standards for school breakfasts and lunches. And on her birthday.

On Friday, USDA Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps proposed new rules for the Food and Nutrition Service that would allow schools to cut the amount of vegetables and fruits required at lunch and breakfasts while giving them license to sell more pizza, burgers and fries to students. The agency is responsible for administering nutritional programs that feed nearly 30 million students at 99,000 schools.

Lipps said the changes will help address what he described as unintended consequences of the regulations put in place during the Obama administration. For example, when schools were trying to implement innovative solutions such as grab-and-go breakfast off a cart or meals in the classroom, they were forced to give kids two bananas to meet minimum federal requirements.

But Colin Schwartz, deputy director of legislative affairs for Center for Science in the Public Interest, says that the proposed rules, if finalized, “would create a huge loophole in school nutrition guidelines, paving the way for children to choose pizza, burgers, french fries and other foods high in calories, saturated fat or sodium in place of balanced school meals every day.”

He says that limiting the variety of vegetables could make french fries even more central to students’ diets. He says the potato lobby has been pushing for this change, and that the potato industry was behind a change that happened quietly last March making it easier to substitute potatoes for some fruit in weekly breakfast menus.

Kam Quarles, the chief executive of the National Potato Council, said, “Potatoes are a nutrient dense vegetable, which contain more potassium than a banana and 30 percent of the daily value of vitamin C along with 3 grams of protein, fiber and carbohydrates that school children need to perform their best at school.”

This was an easy three-fer in the Trump book: a direct insult to another part of the Obama legacy by erasing it, pleasing red state constituent farmers in places like Idaho, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Maine, and taking cash from yet another industry lobby group.

Don't be surprised if Melania Trump offers "new" lunch guidelines to help kids in school, either.  It was always her idea, of course, and red state Trumpists will love it.

Michelle who?  Never heard of her.

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