The Trump administration is taking aim at two key efforts associated with former first lady Michelle Obama: child nutrition and girls’ education worldwide.
On Monday, Sonny Perdue, President Trump’s new agriculture secretary, announced he would loosen restrictions on federally funded school lunch programs — current rules require schools to serve more whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables to millions of children while limiting salt and fat. The push is part of Mrs. Obama’s well-known initiative to help children eat more healthily.
Also on Monday, Peace Corps employees said they had been told to stop using the name of Mrs. Obama’s two-year-old “Let Girls Learn” initiative, CNN reported. Peace Corps workers said they’d been told that as a program unto itself, “Let Girls Learn,” was ending.
Mrs. Obama’s office did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.
In his first major act in the President Trump’s Cabinet, Perdue, a former Georgia governor, announced the nutrition rollback at an elementary school in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Leesburg, Va. Ahead of the announcement, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said a new rule would provide “regulatory flexibility.”
The rules set fat, sugar and sodium limits on foods in the lunch line and beyond. Schools have long been required to follow government nutrition rules if they accept federal reimbursements for free and reduced-price meals for low-income students, but the Obama administration’s standards were stricter.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials said the rules announced Monday were designed to offer schools more flexibility in how they prepare meals, changes long sought by industry leaders and congressional Republicans. In a statement issued afterwards, USDA boasted, “Ag Secretary Perdue Moves to Make School Meals Great Again.”
The change will likely be seen as a rebuke to Mrs. Obama’s championing of tougher nutrition regulations.
Source: USA Today | Greg Toppo