The Trump administration has formally rolled-back the nation’s school lunch program rules implemented by former President Barack Obama.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, signed into law by Obama in 2010, was one of former first lady Michelle Obama’s biggest legacies. The increased nutrition standards for school lunches were intended to make schools healthier and played a noticeable role in the first lady’s Let’s Move campaign.

At the time of Obama’s school lunch program implementations, students across the county created social media memes and YouTube videos countering the school lunch program suggesting it did not provide enough calories for active athletic programs.

The new rules provide for more flexibility in allowing local school boards to create their own level of healthy options for students. One of the new changes will allow chocolate milk to return to schools once again.

Below is the formal release from the United States Department of Agriculture on the new guidelines:


Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Thursday to empower local schools with additional options to serve healthy and appealing meals. A final rule on school meal flexibilities, to be published later this month in the Federal Register, increases local flexibility in implementing school nutrition standards for milk, whole grains, and sodium. Secretary Perdue said the final rule will deliver on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) promise, made in a May 2017 proclamation, to develop forward-thinking strategies that ensure school nutrition standards are both healthful and practical.

“USDA is committed to serving meals to kids that are both nutritious and satisfying,” said Perdue. “These common-sense flexibilities provide excellent customer service to our local school nutrition professionals, while giving children the world-class food service they deserve.”

The actions will benefit nearly 99,000 schools and institutions that feed 30 million children annually through USDA’s school meal programs. This rule is part of USDA’s Regulatory Reform Agenda, developed in response to President Trump’s Executive Order to eliminate unnecessary regulatory burdens.

The Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements final rule offers schools new options as they serve meals under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP) and other federal child nutrition programs. The rule:

  • Provides the option to offer flavored, low-fat milk to children participating in school meal programs, and to participants ages six and older in the Special Milk Program for Children (SMP) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP);
  • Requires half of the weekly grains in the school lunch and breakfast menu be whole grain-rich; and
  • Provides more time to reduce sodium levels in school meals.

Perdue said schools have faced challenges serving meals that both are appetizing to students and meet the nutrition standards. “If kids are not eating what is being served, they are not benefiting, and food is being wasted,” said Perdue. “We all have the same goals in mind — the health and development of our young people. USDA trusts our local operators to serve healthy meals that meet local preferences and build bright futures with good nutrition.”

“We will continue to listen to schools, and make common-sense changes as needed, to ensure they can meet the needs of their students based on their real-world experience in local communities,” said Perdue.

USDA’s FNS works to reduce food insecurity and promote nutritious diets among the American people. The agency administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.

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Jeremy Spencer
Jeremy Spencer grew up in rural South Georgia and has served as a healthcare provider, high school science teacher, school administrator, and state education official. Jeremy is currently the market and content manager for All on Georgia-Camden and Glynn Counties. Jeremy’s focus is local news, statewide education issues, and statewide political commentary for the All on Georgia News Network. Jeremy has served as an education policy analyst for local legislators and state education leaders as well as a campaign strategist for local and statewide political campaigns. Jeremy holds degrees in science and education from the University of Georgia, Piedmont College, and Valdosta State University. Jeremy has lived in Camden County for over 17 years.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Why does milk have to be low fat, you pull all the fat out and then add sugar to make it taste good. That don’t make sense , I don’t see children eating more of this so called healthy food, more goes in trash than in their tummy, we have To beg them to put more food on their plate, so it will be a reimbursable meal and the government will keep paying us, for these so called healthier meals, I might not be high education as you all but I am at the top of the list for common sense , make the food taste good and what the children want and they will eat it. I watch them they get a sandwich or main dish and the roll and past by all the health items we work hard so to provide for them everyday, they eat more of the. Starchy foods, it is a trip, I guarantee Mrs Obama children didn’t eat what we feed our children, Children need more Protein to fill them up . Thanks for listening even though I know it won’t help,

  2. If you are suggesting foods in their original and most wholesome form, I agree with you completely.
    Asian American, Black, and children of Mexican heritage also have great lactose intolerance, especially Asian-Americans.
    The AMA, in 2018, recommends in the next dietary guidelines, to deem meat and dairy optional. Why not start NOW?

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