Nutrition experts called the action by Congress a setback for improving the nutritional standards in school lunches and addressing childhood obesity.
A slice of pizza still counts as a vegetable. In a victory for the makers of frozen pizzas, tomato paste and French fries, Congress has blocked rules proposed by USDA that would have overhauled the nation’s school lunch program.
The proposed changes — the first in 15 years to the $11-billion school lunch program — were meant to reduce childhood obesity by adding more fruits and green vegetables to lunch menus, says USDA.
The rules, proposed last January, would have cut the amount of potatoes served and would have changed the way schools received credit for serving vegetables by continuing to count tomato paste on a slice of pizza only if more than a quarter-cup of it was used. The rules would have also halved the amount of sodium in school meals over the next 10 years.