Bureaucracy surrounding new meal guidelines presents challenges

School struggles to get menu analysis done in time for school year.

Aug. 17—With an on-site garden and meals cooked from scratch, Abernethy School's lunch program has long been heralded as a paragon for healthy eating. But during the past month, new federal school lunch guidelines aimed at preventing childhood obesity threatened the program's future.

The problem was less about nutrition and more about bureaucracy: Portland (Ore.) Public Schools said it struggled to find staff available to analyze the program's menus for issues such as calorie minimums or maximums. The alterations could be as minute as making a piece of sandwich bread smaller, or reducing the amount of chicken in a curry dish.