clear
Monday May 4th, 2015 6:04AM

First lady responds to school meal critics

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- First lady Michelle Obama is striking back at House Republicans who are trying to weaken healthier school meal standards, saying any effort to roll back the guidelines is "unacceptable."<br /> <br /> The rules set by Congress and the administration over the last several years require more whole grains in the lunch line and set limits on sodium, sugar and fat. The first lady met Tuesday with school nutrition officials who said the guidelines are working in their schools.<br /> <br /> The event was an unusual move for the first lady, who has largely stayed away from policy fights since she lobbied for congressional passage of a child nutrition law in 2010.<br /> <br /> "The last thing we can afford to do is play politics with kids' health," Mrs. Obama told participants.<br /> <br /> An agriculture spending bill approved by a House subcommittee last week would allow schools to waive the standards if they have a net loss on school food programs for a six-month period. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., who wrote the bill, said he was responding to requests from school food directors. The House Appropriations Committee is expected to approve the spending bill this week.<br /> <br /> At the White House event, school nutrition directors from New York City to Los Angeles to a rural county in Georgia told the first lady success stories about implementing the standards and said they would be disappointed to see any roll backs.<br /> <br /> "We're not just talking about food, we're talking about education," said David Binkle of the Los Angeles Unified School District. He said participation is up in his district, along with test scores and graduation rates.<br /> <br /> The first lady asked the group for advice about how they can better respond to schools that are struggling, and suggested that the conversation should be focused on helping those schools rather than rolling back some of the standards completely. She said the government and schools can also do more to work with students to get them interested in what they are eating.<br /> <br /> The guidelines have been phased in over the past two school years, with more changes coming in 2014. The School Nutrition Association, which represents school nutrition directors and companies that sell food to schools, has lobbied for changes to the standards.<br /> <br /> The president of the group said Tuesday that the school nutrition officials invited to the White House aren't representative of those who have concerns.<br /> <br /> "Our request for flexibility under the new standards does not come from industry or politics, it comes from thousands of school cafeteria professionals who have shown how these overly prescriptive regulations are hindering their effort to get students to eat healthy school meals," said SNA's Leah Schmidt.<br /> <br /> The schools pushing for changes say limits on sodium and requirements for more whole grains are particularly challenging, while some school officials say kids are throwing away fruits and vegetables that are required.<br /> <br /> The Agriculture Department, which administers the rules, has tweaked them along the way to try to help schools that have concerns. The department scrapped limits on the amount of proteins and grains that kids could eat after students complained they were hungry. Last week, USDA announced it would allow some schools to delay serving whole grain pastas just hours after the House subcommittee approved the opt-out language.<br /> <br /> Not all school groups are lobbying for changes. The national PTA is pushing lawmakers to keep the standards intact.<br /> <br /> "At a time when families are working hard to live healthy lives, school meals should be supporting families' efforts, not working against them," PTA President Otha Thornton wrote to members of Congress.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 4 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 4 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 4 months ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 4 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 4 months ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 4 months ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 4 months ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 4 months ago )
Politics
Obama again avoids calling 1915 Armenian killings 'genocide'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will once again stop short of calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, prompting anger and disappointment from those who have been pushing him to ful...
1:00PM ( 1 week ago )
Ex-NFL star Hernandez convicted of murder, sentenced to life
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for a deadly late-night shooting, sealing the d...
8:54PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Clinton kicks off 2016 campaign online, heads next to Iowa
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton jumped back into presidential politics on Sunday, making a much-awaited announcement she will again seek the White House with a promise to serve as the "champi...
7:56PM ( 3 weeks ago )
Hall, White, Jefferson schools recognized nationally for use of technology
Three school districts in northeast Georgia - Hall, White, and Jefferson - have received national recognition for their use use of innovative technologies. They earned top spots in the Center for Digital Education's and the National School Boards Association's 10th annual Digital School Districts Survey.
By Staff
1:00PM ( 3 weeks ago )
US Capitol lockdown lifted after man fatally shoots himself
WASHINGTON (AP) — A precautionary lockdown of the U.S. Capitol was lifted after about two hours Saturday following a suicide by a man carrying a protest sign.The man died after shooting himself on the...
6:15PM ( 3 weeks ago )