Happy 2014, TLT’ers! I’m kicking off the year with news of a positive school food development that occurred over this blog’s winter break.
Several times last year I told you how school food professionals had been complaining about one particular aspect of the new school food regulations, namely the weekly caps imposed on grain and protein servings. These caps, while well intentioned, had caused all sorts of unforeseen problems.
Three commentators here on The Lunch Tray felt the caps: made it harder to serve healthy choices like sandwiches and soups; discouraged scratch cooking over the use of processed foods; and gave school food directors an incentive to serve “empty calories.” The limits on grains and proteins also contributed to well-publicized complaints by some students that they were going hungry after eating school meals (although see my September 2012 post on why I felt some of those complaints were suspect.)
Some food activists saw the hand of the agricultural lobby behind USDA’s initial suspension of the caps, and it’s true that legislators from beef and grain producing states were in support of making this rule change permanent. But I think this may be one rare case in which the interests of Big Ag and the needs of school food professionals (and, by extension, the kids they serve) actually align.
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