House Republicans say new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines aimed at forcing students to eat fruits and vegetables are a failure because students across the country are simply tossing the healthy fare into the trash.
“[T]here remains great concern with the amount of food waste generated at school cafeterias, much of it brought on by requiring students to take fruits and vegetables rather than simply offer them,” Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.), Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) told USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in a letter sent Thursday.
“This is a waste of federal, state and local funds and is contrary to the law’s goal of feeding as many low-income and hungry children as possible,” they said. “Once again, we are aware USDA has attempted to address this situation by allowing greater choice in reimbursable meals, but students should not have to take additional food if they have no intention of eating it.”
Republicans have been criticizing USDA school lunch guidelines for the last few months, in particular USDA rules that set maximum-calorie guidelines for all meals subsidized by taxpayers. Last month, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced the No Hungry Kids Act, which would repeal these calorie restrictions.