Udall Successful in Push to Ensure Flexibility in School Lunches
President Signs Bill that Includes Compromise Preventing Rigid Limits on Potatoes and Other Vegetables
Today, the President signed into law a measure led by Mark Udall that will prevent unnecessary limits on the amount of vegetables that schools can serve, allowing them the flexibility they need to provide nutritious meals while working within tight budgets.
The amendment to a bill funding the Department of Agriculture for Fiscal Year 2012 was co-sponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and supported by various school groups, including the Colorado School Nutrition Association. During consideration of the bill, Udall gave a speech about balancing nutritious food for children while preserving flexibility for school budgets.
In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed a rule for school breakfast and lunch programs that would have limited starchy vegetables - such as potatoes, peas, corn and lima beans - to one cup per week on the lunch menu and eliminated potatoes from school breakfasts.
"I believe our schools should be preparing healthy meals for kids by providing locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables and limiting fried foods. But the key to success is to give schools guidance and encouragement - not to tie their hands with overly rigid rules," Udall said. "I'm glad we were able to work with USDA to find a balanced approach that won't hamstring schools' ability to prepare healthy meals for school kids."
Udall supported the bipartisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and has worked on numerous initiatives to encourage kids to be active and eat healthy as we combat childhood obesity, including spearheading an effort this summer to get kids active and involved in our national parks.