But, apparently, USDA forgot to figure Congress into its planning. First the Senate voted to block the department from putting limits on servings of potatoes—that is, French fries—and other starchy vegetables in school meals. And now a House-Senate conference committee has rolled back three more USDA provisions. The conference reportedly delayed requirements for more whole grains in school meals and tough proposed limits on salt, scheduled to be phased in over time. In addition, the conference report keeps pizza on school lunch menus by continuing to allow tomato paste to be counted as a vegetable.
The conference committee said its actions “prevent overly burdensome and costly regulations and provide greater flexibility for local school districts to improve the nutritional quality of (school) meals.”
No word yet from the Agriculture Department, which was set to give final approval to its version of the nutrition standards before the end of the year.