Some members of the House of Representatives took action on Tuesday to soften the Obama administration’s aggressive timeline for changing nutrition standards in schools.
The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved the fiscal year 2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which included language that would allow schools under economic hardship to seek a temporary waiver from compliance with USDA’s new school meal regulations during the upcoming school year. Subcommittee members said they were responding to requests from local schools that experienced higher costs and noticed more food waste when they attempted to meet the new standards.
Some school districts and the School Nutrition Association requested the waiver to allow more time for schools to adjust their procurement strategies to meet the new school meal regulations. The new school meal regulations were put in place during the 2012-13 school year.
The waiver language does not apply to new rules on competitive foods that are scheduled to go into effect for the first time during the 2014-15 school year.
IDFA is concerned that the new meal regulations are resulting in declines in school milk consumption and supports the proposed House waiver provision.
The House bill will be referred to the full House Appropriations Committee for mark up next week. The Senate Appropriations Committee will also mark up its agriculture appropriations bill at the end of this week.
For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or Chelsee Woodey, IDFA director of legislative affairs, at email@example.com.