Senate panel adopts amendment to relax school lunch rules

Senate panel adopts amendment to relax school lunch rules
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The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday adopted a GOP amendment that would provide schools flexibility in meeting Department of Agriculture (USDA) rules for serving whole-grain products and reducing sodium levels.

The amendment from Sen. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenGOP anxious with Trump on trade GOP lawmakers to Trump: Don't fire Mueller Government needs to help small businesses follow regulations MORE (R-N.D.) was adopted in a voice vote during the markup of a bill that would fund the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the next fiscal year.

“It addresses both the whole-grains requirement for cereal grain products, bread products and then also the sodium issue,” Hoeven said.

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Under his proposal, if schools have trouble meeting the requirement that 100 percent of cereal grain products be whole-grain enriched, they can obtain a waiver so that they only have a 50 percent requirement.

Another provision would prevent sodium reduction levels from further expanding until scientific research is done to ensure it’s a viable requirement for schools to meet.

“We’ve reduced sodium significantly by going to the Target 1 level,” Hoeven added.

He had introduced a bill earlier this year that would revise these rules so that they return to 2012 standards.

This comes as Congress must reauthorize the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by Sept. 30.

Hoeven said he’s been working closely with Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsGOP senators eager for Romney to join them Canada tamps down worries about US NAFTA withdrawal Canada worried Trump will withdraw from NAFTA: report MORE (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, to prepare for a reauthorization.