In a Facebook Live video feed today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue signed a proclamation allowing food service professionals more flexibility in putting together school meals.
“We all know that meals can’t be nutritious if they are not consumed and put in the trash,” Perdue said during his visit to Catoctin Elementary School in Leesburg, Virginia. “We know that kids are pretty outspoken about what they want to eat and what they don’t.”
After hearing feedback from parents, students, and food service professionals from around the nation, Perdue’s new school meal program flexibility interim rule includes:
- A postponement of target II sodium requirements for three years.
- An allowance for occasional non-whole grain rich products to be served.
- An allowance for 1 percent milkfat flavored milk to be served.
Parents protesting new changes to school lunch programs speak out as Sec. Perdue's motorcade leaves Catoctin Elem. in Leesburg. pic.twitter.com/hHvfu49286
— Jeff Goldberg (@abc7jeffg) May 1, 2017
With protestors outside the school, Perdue said there may be critics to these changes, but he assures that the new program will not be winding back on nutritional standards — instead these changes will give food service professionals the flexibility to put together more nutritious, palatable meals for our nation’s school children. Perdue also said if schools wish to keep the previous whole grain and sodium standards and have success in doing that, they can keep up those programs.
Perdue said the USDA’s new motto stems from a sign he once read in a restaurant that said: “Do right and feed everyone.”
“We want to feed every child and make sure they have a healthy, palatable school lunch,” Perdue said.