Schools dropping out of USDA meals program because of new meal regs

USDA reacts, saying districts are doing just fine meeting the new rules.

Aug. 28—Some districts are dropping out of the National School Lunch Program because the new USDA meal regs are too difficult to meet and participation has dropped because students aren't happy with the meal changes, according to a recent story from the Associated Press.

The story wrote: "The School Nutrition Association found that 1 percent of 521 district nutrition directors surveyed over the summer planned to drop out of the program in the 2013-14 school year and about 3 percent were considering the move."

Read more of the story here.

This morning, Dr. Janey Thornton, deputy undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services at the USDA, released this statement in reaction to the AP's story:

"Today a news report claimed that schools across the country are dropping out of the National School Lunch Program because the standards are too difficult to implement.

The truth is that the vast majority of schools across the country are meeting the updated meal standards successfully, which is so important to help all our Nations children lead healthier lives. Even before the new standards took effect and more resources were available, many schools across the country were leading the way with healthier options and appropriate portion sizes. In fact, schools that adopted the changes earlier report that participation increased as students and parents became accustomed to the healthier options. USDA continues to provide additional flexibility and technical assistance to schools as they all now work to offer healthier meals. We also encourage the very few eligible school districts that have chosen not to participate in the program to take steps to ensure all children will still have access to healthy, affordable meals during the school day."