Perdue signs proclamation to increase local flexibility in school lunch programs

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In Virginia, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide greater flexibility in nutrition requirements for school meal programs in order to make food choices both healthful and appealing to students. Perdue signed a proclamation which begins the process of restoring local control of guidelines on whole grains, sodium, and milk.

“This announcement is the result of years of feedback from students, schools, and food service experts about the challenges they are facing in meeting the final regulations for school meals,” Perdue said. “If kids aren’t eating the food, and it’s ending up in the trash, they aren’t getting any nutrition – thus undermining the intent of the program.”

As school food requirements costs are going up, most states are reporting decreased student participation in school lunches. The decline in school lunch participation means reduced revenue to schools while they simultaneously are encountering increased costs.