Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Senate Ag panel chair says child nutrition rules should work for all districts, including rural

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, said he wants to overhaul federal nutrition requirements so that not only wealthy, urban school districts but also poor or rural ones can meet the meal standards, Philip Brasher writes for Agri-Pulse. "We need a program that works for all districts regardless of their location and access to resources," Roberts said while speaking to the members of the School Nutrition Association. He offered no details but got an ovation from the school food directors.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which sets the current standards, will expire Sept. 30. Roberts didn't specify how the bill will address concerns that the standards are too hard to reach. "While he said he intended to produce a bipartisan bill in committee, any push to weaken many of the standards will run into stiff opposition from Democrats and the White house," Brasher reports. Debbie Stabenow, the committee's ranking Democrat, has staunchly defended the standards.

On Monday, John Hoeven, the chairman of the Senate agriculture subcommittee on nutrition, proposed keeping sodium limits at their current levels, rejecting the USDA's plan to tighten them in 2017. Roberts didn't "commit to including Hoeven's proposals," Brasher writes. (Read more)

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