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USDA to Target Snacks in Schools – Will It Impact the Mid-Columbia?

The USDA braintrust ready to go after snacks in schools
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Obama administration has charged the USDA with weeding out soda, candy and snacks from our schools — starting soon.

A 160-page set of instructions from the United States Department of Agriculture came out Friday, outlining a variety of steps for reportedly improving nutrition in U.S. schools.

In short, it would prohibit U.S. schools from selling what the USDA deems to be unhealthy snacks. The key word here is selling. We could presume that applies to vending machines.

Here’s a line from the USDA proposal:

special exemptions for infrequent school-sponsored fundraisers (other than fundraising through vending machines, school stores, snack bars, a la carte sales and any other exclusions determined by the Secretary).

This means the current USDA standards applied to school lunches will be further applied to school stores, games and vending machines. Note the language from the USDA proposal. Special exemptions for infrequent school-sponsored fundraisers. Also note, exclusions determined by the Secretary (meaning Health and Human Services Secretary).

These recommendations, if approved, would apply to all schools, public and private, that participate in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Program. This program provides funding to thousands of schools to help provide meals for students whose parents have low income levels.

The 2010 Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act was blasted nationwide by politicians and many educators because of severely reduced calorie levels in the food. Some districts saw thousands of meals were thrown away because children don’t like hummus and black bean salads. Children also complained of still feeling hungry because the calorie levels were reduced.

A 60-day comment period began Friday on the new proposed regulations.  To see the USDA document for yourself, click on the button below. Comments may be respectfully submitted to your local school district.

USDA Food Proposal

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