A longtime advocate for flexibility in school meal standards, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging regulatory relief from rigid school meal standards, specifically sodium limits and whole grain and dairy requirements.
“For the past several years, I have heard concerns from school children, parents, teachers, administrators, and school foodservice providers in Kansas and across the country regarding the challenges of complying with rigid school food standards,” Roberts said.
“[School meal rules] have limited the flexibility of school foodservice providers, led to declining participation in the program, increased food waste in school cafeterias, and caused confusion regarding what foods can be used in fundraisers and extracurricular activities.
“The current waiver system does not provide schools and those involved in planning and preparing school meals with the necessary flexibility and certainty. I urge you to act administratively and provide immediate relief from certain egregious aspects of the standards, particularly in regards to the rapidly approaching sodium limits and the dairy and whole grain requirements. After providing immediate relief, I urge you to provide long-term flexibility and certainty for our schools, our school foodservice directors, and other stakeholders.”