new Federal Rule Suggests Cutting Down on Sugar and Salt Meals served in public schools shortage of workers prepare their meals, protracted problem It actually has bread, vegetables, fruit and meat at the door.
“We still have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Lisa Johnson, director of nutrition services at High Line Public Schools in Brien, Washington and nearby.
A suburb of Johnson with more than 17,000 people Children have been understaffed since the early days of the pandemic and still find it hard to get some healthy food options.
USDA rules require schools to make changes over the next six years.Department now accepting feedback about the proposal before finalizing the plan.
Reduce sugar and salt:Biden administration pushes for healthier school lunches
school lunch officials say Although the proposed change is intentional, A serious financial investment in the staff tasked with cooking these healthier and more nutritious meals just won’t come to fruition.
What challenges are schools facing?
It’s already difficult to access products that aren’t low-fat or low-sodium. Recent research From the school nutrition association show, The new standards, not to mention healthier ones, are likely to raise the price of meals for families who cannot afford lunch under current rules.
Congress scrapped a program that offered free lunches to everyone.This means that some students will go hungry.
Proponents of the newly proposed regulation argue that it is in line with the latest science in nutrition, “Give your children the right balance of nutrients for a healthy and engaging diet,” says the USDA website. read.
“We see this as the next step in a fairly long-term partnership to support healthy school meals,” he said. Cindy Long, Administrator of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, said:
It has long called the move “very important” to prevent diet-related illnesses in the United States.
New national study released Monday From the American Medical Association suggest Federal Law of 2010 demand that schools serve healthier meals It has led to lower rates of BMI, or in children and adolescents who are obese or at risk of being obese. Some of these changes were rolled back during the Trump administration.
What does the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggest for school lunches?
of Proposed change include:
- Gradually reduce sodium by 30% overall by fall 2029.
- By fall 2027, we will reduce the amount of added sugar per week to 10% of total calories for the first time.and
- Make flavored milk unavailable to younger students by 2025
US Department of Agriculture expect Publish the final rule “in time for schools to plan for the 2024-25 school year.”
more:Biden administration pushes for healthier school lunches, new limits on sugar and salt
Not enough cooks in the kitchen
The number of cafeteria workers a school needs depends on its size, School nutrition associations show that more cooks and other staff are desperately needed almost everywhere.
Recent investigation 93% of school feeding program directors implemented by the association indicate they are severely understaffed They are struggling To run cafeterias, 89% of schools struggled to find foods that meet current rules for school lunches that are less sugary and salty.
of SNA Diane Pratt-Heavner said more items need to be created from scratch to meet the new standards.
“Staffing is a major issue for school feeding programs and will impact their ability to meet additional nutritional standards,” said Pratt-Heavner.
Hot dog tortillas and bagged salad:School lunches take on a new look amid supply chain woes
The Chef Ann Foundation, which encourages schools to make more meals from scratch, is one group trying to solve the problem of school cafeterias. According to CEO Mara Fleishman, the foundation recently launched a fellowship program for existing school feeding leaders with support from the Whole Kids Foundation and state governments. California.
Some schools that were making many meals from scratch switched to packaged food during the pandemic to provide meals for students to take home when classes moved online. Fleischmann said many have not returned due to labor and material shortages.
Last week, some Chef Ann Foundation Fellows, including the sous chef of the Virginia Beach Public Schools Food Service Office, visited schools in several cities across the country as part of their hands-on training.
How do staffing and food quality intersect?
Opponents of the USDA proposal argue that the federal government should consider problems already facing local schools before adding new requirements.
The rule would create “an unworkable nutrition standard that drags schools down,” said Virginia Fox, Rn.C., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee and the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee. Party leader John Boozman said. Arkansas said.
USDA officials say they are aware of these challenges and continue to help schools address them. concern.
“We certainly recognize that the last few years have been particularly difficult…as we are coming out of COVID,” Long said. It is one of the main reasons why we employ
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