PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – For the first time in 15 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is raising the standards for school meals.
The USDA is calling on schools to make a number of changes which include reducing the amount of starchy vegetables like potatoes, reducing sodium in food, and offering two fruits and vegetables a day. The government would also like schools to throw out chocolate milk and offer only 1% or fat free milk.
Additionally, the USDA is calling for a decrease in trans fats and an increase in whole grains, and calorie minimum and maximums for meals.
At the Mathematics Civic and Science charter school in Center City fruits, vegetables, and lean meat have been on the menu for 12 years. The school’s director Veronica Joyner says her students like eating healthy, but the real challenge is paying for the food.
Referring to the federal government subsidies for children eligible for the free lunch programs Joyner says, “We get what ever the allotment is. The nutritious food cost more so the school has to take up the difference.”
The USDA says to help with the cost, it will offer an extra six cents per student for schools that meet the new food standards. The new proposed changes do not include school stores or vending machines, but the government will be looking at standards for them in the future.
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Reported by Anne-Marie Green, CBS 3