Senator Roberts: USDA Grants Flexibility on School Meals; Waste and Cost Remain a Concern

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) today said the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has agreed with his request to grant schools flexibility in implementing the new guidelines for the National School Breakfast and Lunch programs, but significant concerns remain on waste and costs of the new policies.

“Providing flexibility is a key component to implementing such dramatic changes to school meals, and I applaud Secretary Vilsack for responding to my request,” Roberts said. “However, I am still concerned with USDA’s lack of fully understanding the estimated costs to schools and plate waste once they are required to meet all of USDA’s new rules. I will continue to monitor the implementation of this rule, and its impact on schools in Kansas as well as the rest of the country. I look forward to working with Secretary Vilsack to continue to improve school nutrition while ensuring our students are adequately fed.”

At issue were complaints raised by students, parents, coaches and administrators that the USDA’s new nutrition guidelines for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs were not meeting the needs of active students.

In October, Roberts sent a letter to USDA requesting justification of the new policies and further analysis of their effects on active students, on school participation in the program and on the industry and economy as a whole.

The full response from USDA to the Senator’s letter, including information on the new flexibility USDA is providing schools, can be found here.

Senator Roberts is ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry which has jurisdiction on nutrition programs.


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