Friday, February 24, 2012

Take Those School Lunch Rules and Shove ’Em!

The congressional delegation from dairy-rich Idaho has had it with the Agriculture Department and its restrictive school lunch rules. The four members of the delegation told USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack recently, “We do not want federal regulations in Idaho that will limit our milk and dairy consumption in schools.” 

School lunch nutrition standards issued last month limited milk in school meals to low-fat and fat-free varieties only and eliminated chocolate milk unless it is fat-free. Similar draft rules are expected soon covering cafeteria a la carte lines, school vending machines and school stores.

“While many schools have trended towards fewer varieties of milk offerings, these same cafeterias are filling their coolers and vending machines with more sports drinks, flavored water, fruit drinks and diet beverages,” the House and Senate members from Idaho told Vilsack in a letter. “Though these beverages may be marginally lower in calories, they are incomparable to milk in terms of nutritional value.”

The delegation, which also helped head off restrictions on French fries in school meals, asked specifically that low-fat chocolate milk be allowed in the soon-to-be issued rules covering cafeteria a la carte lines.

Everyone -- except, apparently, for the bureaucrats at USDA -- knows that kids prefer chocolate milk over white and, in fact, will choose almost anything else to drink over white milk. So, USDA's nutrition standards will result in kids drinking less milk. Brilliant!

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