Healthier School Lunches Pushed Back by Congress

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Obama administration and some members of Congress have found a new battleground: school lunchrooms.

The president's efforts to make school lunches healthier has hit a roadblock in Congress, with some of its members attempting to unravel his plan. They're pushing back against Agriculture Department initiatives to limit french fries and pizzas, reduce sodium and boost whole grains on school lunch lines.

The final version of a wide-ranging spending bill released late Monday would force the department to drop an attempt to limit servings of potatoes per week, delay proposed limits on sodium and delay a requirement to boost whole grains. The department proposed the standards earlier this year.

The spending bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable, as it is now. The department's proposed guidelines would have attempted to prevent that.

The changes had been requested by food companies that produce frozen pizzas, the salt industry and potato growers. Some conservatives in Congress have called the push for healthier foods an overreach, saying the government shouldn't be telling children what to eat.

Read more »