: New rules would limit sugar in U.S. school meals for first time, but plan draws mixed reactions from nutritionists

by | Feb 5, 2023 | Stock Market

U.S. Agriculture Department officials on Friday proposed new nutrition standards for school meals, including the first limits on added sugars, with a focus on sweetened foods such as cereals, yogurt, flavored milk and breakfast pastries. The plan announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also seeks to significantly decrease sodium in the meals served to the nation’s schoolkids by 2029, while making the rules for foods made with whole grains more flexible.

The goal is to improve nutrition and align with U.S. dietary guidelines in the program that serves breakfast to more than 15 million children and lunch to nearly 30 million children every day, Vilsack said. The plan, detailed in a 280-page document, drew mixed reactions. Food security advocates in general applauded the new guidelines, but noted that new guidelines should also come with new support for school staff.   School nutritionists said the national labor shortages and supply chain disruptions made it hard for them to secure food from manufacturers and distributors that meet the current school nutrition standards.  Healthy Eating Research (HER), a national program of the health-focused philanthropic group Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), recommended distributing necessary resources to schools to implement the updated standards as well as further strengthening the nutritional standards. The resources include funds to support training, technical assistance, and updates to school kitchen equipment. “It’s vital that we make school meals as healthy as possible beca …

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