Former First Lady Michelle Obama's healthy school lunch program could be under threat of being rolled back, thanks to the President Donald Trump administration and a fully Republican Congress.
Fox News reports that former Obama championed the healthy school lunch program, which made its way into law as the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The legislation stipulates in part that children are entitled to at least one fruit and vegetable for any meal that is subsidized by the federal government.
However, the office of North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows has called for repealing certain aspects of the law -- namely 200 rules and regulations imposed by the Act.
“The regulations have proven to be burdensome and unworkable for schools to implement,” reads a report from the House Freedom Caucus, of which Meadows is a member. “Schools are throwing food away that students are not eating.”
A 2015 report published by researchers at the University of Vermont found that “children consumed fewer [fruits and vegetables] and wasted more during the school year immediately following implementation of the USDA rule.”
Since the law's implementation, many school officials and parents have complained of an excess in food waste, as children throw away the undesired fruits and vegetables they are forced to accept as part of their school lunches. In addition, many school systems have dropped out of the federal lunch program due to rising compliance costs after the law stipulated restrictions on calories, sugar and sodium counts.
However, according to the Christian Science Monitor, the legislation has had positive impacts, including an increase in calcium and certain vitamins in the diets of students.
"We found that the implementation of the new meal standards was associated with the improved nutritional quality of meals selected by students. These changes appeared to be driven primarily by the increase in variety, portion size, and the number of servings of fruits and vegetables," the study concludes, according to a statement.
It remains to be seen whether Congress and the new president will repeal part or all of the legislation.