By: Tristan Mabee
Photo Credits: Nathaniel McCloud
In what seems like nothing more than a power move by the leading party, more Obama-era regulations have been removed, in an area that most likely won't see the positive or negative effects of this change for years: school lunches.
Three aspects of the lunch menu impacted are grains, sodium and milk. Schools that can prove they were previously struggling to pay, prepare or serve grain products can request an exemption from the state, allowing them to only be whole grain rich half of the time.
To help children keep up their milk consumption, milk can now be flavored, but must remain nonfat. This change will only happen if the school food authority can prove that milk consumption decreased or that milk was being wasted. Critics note that the negative effects of flavored milk could include obesity, because flavored milk contains more sugar than regular milk.
The updated rules regarding school lunches require continued sodium reduction, but with a less aggressive approach.
To qualify for these new exemptions, schools must show evidence that they are not already meeting the requirements, or that milk or grains are being wasted due to a lack of student consumption.
While the claims that schools couldn't keep up with the changes seem reasonable at face value, research from the USDA in 2016 shows that more than 99% of schools in the country had already met the Obama-era standards. Why then make legislation that doesn't support a goal most schools had already achieved?
The answer is simple: this change was not made to benefit students, but to benefit the political machine.