The Trump administration is ending yet another of Michelle Obama’s hated, overly strict school lunch rules by bringing chocolate milk back to school lunch menus.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday announced a new rule set to take effect on July 1 after the period of public comment. The new rule relaxes sodium limits and Obama’s whole-grain requirements. The rule will also allow milk with one percent fat back on the menu, ABC News reported.
“Schools need flexibility in menu planning so they can serve nutritious and appealing meals,” Perdue said this week. “Schools want to offer food that students actually want to eat. It doesn’t do any good to serve nutritious meals if they wind up in the trash can.”
Perdue has been dismissing Michelle Obama’s signature school lunch rules all year.
“This is not reducing the nutritional standards whatsoever,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in May when announcing the Agriculture Department’s intention to bring chocolate milk back to schools. “I wouldn’t be as big as I am today without flavored milk.”
Perdue also slammed Obama’s rules as leading to too much waste. “If kids aren’t eating the food, and it’s ending up in the trash, they aren’t getting any nutrition — thus undermining the intent of the program,” he said.
Critics of Obama’s lunch rules pointed out that they led to higher costs for schools across the country. In the fiscal year 2015 alone, Obama’s school food requirements cost school budgets an additional $1.22 billion.
The School Nutrition Association and the School Superintendents Association have been supportive of Perdue’s efforts to scale back Obama’s rules. The groups recently noted that the “overly prescriptive regulatory requirements” of Obama’s school lunch program had forced school districts to “financially subsidize meals at the expense of educational programs.”
They also said Obama’s nutritional regulations added ten cents to the cost of every lunch and 27 cents to every breakfast, requiring local school districts to absorb $1.2 billion in additional costs in 2015 alone.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.