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Just days before many kids in the United States return to school from summer vacation, President Donald Trump's administration responded in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to a multi-state lawsuit challenging its watered-down requirements under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National School Lunch Program.
The lawsuit, which was filed earlier this year by attorneys general from several states, including California and lead plaintiff New York State, claims the Trump administration didn't take the proper steps to amend the rules, which the suit argues contravene the will of Congress. The suit claims the USDA's 2018 actions were not "'consistent with the goals of the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans' [nor] 'based on' the Nutrition Board's recommendations, as required by the School Lunch Act." The suit also alleges the rules are not—as required—based on "tested nutritional research." And it claims the amended requirements "significantly weaken the nutritional requirements for sodium and whole grains applicable to the school lunch" program.
The Obama administration's changes to the National School Lunch Program, championed by then-First Lady Michelle Obama and adopted in 2012, modified requirements for sodium, whole grain, milk, and fruits and vegetables served as part of the school lunch program. In 2018, the Trump administration rolled back many of those changes.
"The reforms were announced this week by new USDA Secretary Sonny Purdue under a plan to—honestly—'Make School Meals Great Again,'" I wrote in a 2017 column on the Trump administration's new approach. "That headline should tell you all you need to know about the Trump administration's plans."
Still, the inanity of Trump's plans doesn't mean the changes advocated by First Lady Obama and her husband's administration were any good. "[T]he Obama administration's food is not great food," I noted in 2017.
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