Finally, the United States has overhauled school lunch rules for the first time in 15 years, forcing cafeterias to do things like "Offer fruits and vegetables as two separate meal components" to help with the childhood obesity epidemic. Thanks goodness Big Pizza, Big Salt and Big Potato succeeded in getting pizza and French fries classified as vegetables.
Other new rules include (PDF for the rest): All milk must be low-fat or non-fat (there can be flavored non-fat milk); starting to make whole grains the only grains served ("half of the grains would be whole grain-rich upon implementation of the rule and all grains would be whole-grain rich two years post implementation"); making sure vegetables are offered daily at lunch, "including specific vegetable subgroups weekly (dark green, orange, legumes, and other as defined in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines) and a limited quantity of starchy vegetables throughout the week"; and the level of sodium in meals will be decreased over a ten year period. Pfft—if the Obama administration really wanted to shake things up with children's eating habits, get the NYC Department of Health to design the posters.
The American Frozen Food Institute told the NY Times, "From our perspective, the new rules improve school nutrition, but at the same time give schools the flexibility to serve a variety of foods to meet the standards. It’s a balanced approach that meets the goals of everyone involved," while the National Potato Council was still a little annoyed, "Despite the fact that Congress said the U.S.D.A. could not limit potatoes in school lunches or breakfast, we still feel like the potato is being downplayed in favor of other vegetables in the new guidelines. It seems the department still considers the potato a second-class vegetable."
Who cares whether vegetables are first- or second-class when kids today CAN'T EVEN IDENTIFY THEM?