Mary Jalonick of The Associated Press reports that "school meals that are subsidized by the federal government must include a certain amount of vegetables, and USDA’s proposal could have pushed pizza-makers and potato growers out of the school lunch business." Conservatives are saying government shouldn't tell kids what to eat and school districts say the proposed changes would put added strain on already tight budgets. Jalonick reports schools follow guidelines on free or reduced lunches for low-income students, but now are upset about the government telling "them exactly what foods they can't serve."
USDA secretary Tom Vilsack said the changes are "necessary to reduce childhood obesity and future health care costs." Spokespeople say USDA will continue to work toward healthier lunches. Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest said the bill would slow efforts to make pizza more healthy. Since obesity has become the main medical disqualifier for military service, a group of retired generals called Mission:Readiness called the move a national security issue. (Read more)