The Trump administration announced Friday that it will roll back school lunch nutrition standards championed by Michelle Obama — on the former first lady’s 56th birthday.
The Department of Agriculture said in a statement that the rule change will allow increased flexibility for schools on which fruits and vegetables they can offer students.
“Schools and school districts continue to tell us that there is still too much food waste and that more common-sense flexibility is needed to provide students nutritious and appetizing meals. We listened and now we’re getting to work,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
The announcement follows the Agriculture Department rolling back nutrition standards for federally subsidized school meals in 2017, which was prompted by excess food waste.
In 2012, the Obama administration toughened standards on nutrition that schools had been required to follow in order to receive federal reimbursement for free and reduced-price meals for low-income students.
Perdue’s proclamation restored local control of guidelines on whole grains, sodium, and milk in the National School Lunch Program. It did not spell out changes with fruits, vegetables, and protein.
“This announcement is the result of years of feedback from students, schools and food service experts about the challenges they are facing in meeting the final regulations for school meals,” Perdue said in a release at the time.