To address some of the objections local schools have to to the new school meal rules. now the USDA awards grants to implement school meal standards.
More than a quarter of a million dollars has been distributed to North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana by the US Department of Agriculture enabling them to overcome difficulties with new rules concerning less sugar, fat, and salt.
North Dakota will get $255,948, South Dakota will get $266,745 and Montana will get $349,812.
In many of the states with numerous complaints, the largest producers of food products are subject to the changes requiring a reduction of sugar, fat, and salt and an increase in whole grains. Blunting the criticism of the new rule could have important implications for fruit and vegetable growers because the School Nutrition Association, which represents school food service directors and the companies that prepare school foods, has asked Congress and USDA to pull back a rule that requires students take a fruit or vegetable at every meal.
Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon did not emphasize where the grants would go. But he did question whether the House proposal requiring USDA to grant a waiver from the healthier school meal rules to any school that says its meal program has lost money for six months will ever become law.
“It is hard to reach enactment without support from Senate or the administration,” Concannon said.
Kansas got both a competitive grant of $299,453 and a noncompetitive grant of $49,423. Two years ago, students in one Kansas school produced a video called “We are Hungry,” protesting the new rules that has gotten more than 1 million views on YouTube, and Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., have been particularly critical of the new rules.
Nebraska, where Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., has also been a critic, got a competitive grant of $295,167 and a noncompetitive grant of $50,000.