1:22pm

Wed October 19, 2011
Health

Udall Pushes to Ensure Flexibility in School Meal Programs

An amendment that would give schools more flexibility in deciding what constitutes nutritious meals for children has been included in the agriculture appropriations bill. Colorado Senator Mark Udall offered the amendment after USDA officials proposed limits on starchy vegetables that schools can serve.

The proposed rule would limit servings of starchy vegetables – including potatoes, corn, peas and lima beans – to one cup per week, and would eliminate potatoes altogether from school breakfasts. The idea is to cut down on less healthful food options such as French fries on school menus.

But Udall successfully argued on the Senate floor earlier this week that schools should have the flexibility to decide how they can best deliver nutrition to their students.

“Where I believe school meal providers, potato producers and health advocates can agree, is that this issue is less about any one vegetable and more about the preparation of the vegetable.”

Udall added that as schools budget for food services, keeping potatoes on the menu will allow them to manage costs so they can afford to purchase other, more expensive vegetables and fruits. Udall co-sponsored the amendment with Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine.

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