SNA responds to lawsuit over Trump school meals rule
April 4, 2019
The School Nutrition Association said late Wednesday that it still supports the Trump administration's rule granting schools flexibility on milk, whole grains and reduced sodium, even though nutrition groups filed a lawsuit against the rule.
"SNA appreciates USDA's efforts to preserve strong standards to benefit students while addressing long-standing challenges to ensure they choose and consume healthy school meals," said Gay Anderson, president of SNA, which represents school food service directors and the companies that make school foods.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Chesapeake Institute for Local Sustainable Food & Agriculture, doing business as Healthy School Food Maryland, filed suit against USDA in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.
The groups said that, in relaxing the school meal rules under the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, USDA "unlawfully departed from Congress's unambiguous directive that it determine school meal requirements based on nutrition science, and instead relied on impermissible and unsound extra-statutory factors such as students' perceived taste preferences for less healthy foods and some schools' desire for operational 'flexibility.' The department also failed to explain, or even acknowledge, that its actions constituted a fundamental change in its interpretation of key statutes, by which it untethered the nutrition standards from the guidelines. Further, the department provided no adequately reasoned explanation for modifying existing standards. Nor did the department adequately consider or respond to a wealth of evidence in the record or comments — from parents, advocacy groups, school nutrition experts, researchers, and food manufacturers alike — that opposed weakening the standards."
A coalition of states, led by New York, filed a challenge to the same rule today in the Southern District of New York, CSPI said.