USDA Backs Off Whole Gain School Rule

As school nutrition officials and members of Congress complaining that the Obama administration’s “healthier school-lunch standards” are from impractical to impossible to put in place, the Agriculture Department has opted to let some schools delay adding more whole-grains to the menu.

USDA said schools can put off for two years a requirement that all pastas in schools be whole-grain rich, or more than half whole grain, if they can demonstrate that they have had “significant challenges” in preparing whole-grain pasta. Many schools have complained that the whole-grain pastas don’t hold together well when cooked.

The change comes just hours after criticism from the republican led House of Representatives.

The School Nutrition Association, which represents school nutrition directors and companies that sell food to schools, said the announcement is a good first step.

Schools are currently required to ensure that “50 percent of all grain products be whole-grain rich, but that is set to jump to 100 percent in the next school year”.

The change hasn’t caused a major problem as regards breads and rolls, but ever popular menu items including pastas, biscuits, tortillas and grits pose a far more significant problem.