A GOP agriculture and spending bill released on Monday will allow some schools to opt out of the Michelle Obama-backed healthy lunch program that has proven quite controversial in some states. As the Associated Press' Mary Clare Jalonick writes the new bill will allow schools that have lost money on their school food programs for six consecutive months to apply for waivers, a move prompted by requests from schools, according to the House Appropriations Committee. The bill was rolled out today and will be considered by a House subcommittee on Tuesday.
Not everyone is happy with the changes the government made to school lunches two years ago — they were despited to cut down on fat, sugar, calories, and sodium. Many teens have taken to the Internet to air their disgust over their “nasty” tater tot-free lunches — and post sad photos of limp chicken burgers and tortillas — and place the blame squarely with the First Lady. Schools have also complained about the new rules, saying that asking kids to eat a fruit or vegetable with every meal is “unrealistic.”
Critics of the House GOP plan say that there might be other reasons, like enrollment numbers or the cost of food, that explain why food programs are losing money, not just the way the taste. The School Nutrition Association, a nonprofit professional membership organization representing 55,000 school nutrition professionals who work in school cafeterias nationwide, supports the GOP’s effort, and told the AP that schools need “more room to make their own decisions.” The group also said that 90 percent of schools have reported an increase in food costs.