Congress Blocks School Lunch Rules

A win for frozen-pizza makers; a loss for kids. 

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The New York Times calls it a victory. Not for kids, of course, but for "the makers of frozen pizza, tomato paste and French fries": Congress has voted to block rules proposed by the Agriculture Department that were meant to reduce childhood obesity and would have added more fruits and green vegetables to lunch menus.

Just a couple of examples: The rules would have counted a slice of pizza as a vegetable only if more than 1/4 cup of tomato paste was used on it, and would have cut in half the amount of sodium in school meals over the next 10 years.  Seems like stuff we could all agree on, right? Wrong.

Late Monday, lawmakers blocked the Agriculture Department from using money to carry the rules out.

Food companies including ConAgra, Coca-Cola, Del Monte Foods and makers of frozen pizza were unhappy with the decision -- they argued that the proposed rules would have raised the cost of meals and required food that many children would throw away, the New York Times reports. (The Agriculture Department's estimation was that the proposal would have cost about $6.8 billion over five years, adding about 14 cents a meal to the cost of a school lunch.)

Nutrition experts call the news a setback for improving the nutritional standards in school lunches. Sadly, you don’t have to have a degree in public health to see where children's health falls among Congress' priorities.   

Read more at the New York Times.

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