Newly appointed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue hit the ground running.

In one of his first actions as Secretary of Agriculture, Perdue announced changes that will loosen restrictions on school lunch programs across the nation.

Of particular interest to the dairy industry is that schools will once again be able to offer low-fat (1 percent) flavored milk as part of the National School Lunch and Breakfast program. Since 2010, schools could only serve nonfat flavored milk as low-fat varieties were eliminated from school meal and a la carte programs under the Obama Administration.

In the two years after low-fat flavored milk was removed, 1.1 million fewer students drank milk with their lunch, according to the National Milk Producers Federation.

Perdue’s proclamation also delays an upcoming requirement to reduce sodium levels in school meals. It will allow schools more flexibility on grain product selection as well, loosening the rule in which 50 percent of grain products were to be whole grain.

According to Perdue, the purpose for his proclamation was to provide more food options for students, reduce waste, and lower costs. USDA will prepare new guidelines to go into effect for the 2017-2018 school year, which will shift more decision making power back to schools.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2017
May 8, 2017

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