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New federal lunch rules called `good news’ for cafe

CJ Norwood and Natalie Sommer

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The changes made to federal lunch guidelines this week will have no effect on lunches served the rest of this school year, but will help school cafeterias nationwide next year, Food Services Director Joyce Weber said.

The amount of sodium allowed in a lunch, which is currently 1,230 milligrams, had been scheduled to decrease to 935 milligrams next school year. However, President Trump’s Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue, this week announced that the decrease will be put on hold until 2020 or even indefinitely.

“The news of the delay in the implementation of the new sodium target … is good news for our meal program,” Weber said in an email interview. “The food industry is not prepared for the next sodium target. We currently have found products that are acceptable to our students and we are happy to be able to continue to offer these low-sodium items next school year.”

However, Weber said the sodium limits should not be eliminated altogether at any time in the future.

“The typical American kid consumes too much sodium in his or her diet,” she said. “It would be a shame if the current sodium requirements are removed in the next set of changes to the regulations.”

Another change made to the federal regulations is that schools will be able to offer 1 percent flavored milk instead of the current non-fat milk, but Weber said Baldwin will stick with the non-fat option.

“If we increase the fat content of the milk, then the fat content of the food must be decreased in order to meet the weekly limit,” Weber said. “It does not make sense to remove some of the popular meal choices from the menu in order to add fat back into the milk.”

In announcing the federal changes, Perdue said too many kids were rejecting the lunches and dumping food into the trash. Weber said “plate waste” had been a problem at Baldwin when the stricter food regulations first began, but that has been reduced by adding greater varieties of fruit and vegetables, reopening the salad bar, and adding the potato station and fruit parfaits.

 

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The student news site of Baldwin High School
New federal lunch rules called `good news’ for cafe