USDA announces ‘regulatory flexibility’ changes to Michelle Obama’s school lunch program

USDA announces ‘regulatory flexibility’ changes to Michelle Obama’s school lunch program
USDA announces changes to the National School Lunch Program. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Department of Agriculture is expected to roll back school lunch initiatives put in place by former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama that made lunches more healthy, yet undesirable to consume.

The Department of Agriculture said Friday that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will visit an elementary school in Northern Virginia on Monday to announce a temporary rule to provide “regulatory flexibility” for the National School Lunch Program, which aims to provide healthy school lunches across the country in an effort to fight childhood obesity.

According to reports, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) will join Purdue, where the two are also expected to eat lunch at the school. Still, the USDA didn’t say how current school lunch regulations will be changed or how the changes will effect school lunchrooms.

Republicans have long targeted the Obama school lunch reforms, insisting that states and school districts be given options about their participation in the program, which has been costly.

Still, there has been bipartisan support against the school lunch initiatives.

More from NBC News:

the program’s inflexibility has a history as a bipartisan issue. A 2016 bill negotiated by Roberts and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, ranking member of the senate agriculture committee, sought to loosen whole grain requirements and extend a deadline to cut school lunch’s sodium levels.

But partisan bickering from both sides stalled the bill’s progression. It died never having received a floor vote.

The American Heart Association was quick to push back against any changes to the program.

Improving children’s health should be a top priority for the USDA, and serving more nutritious foods in schools is a clear-cut way to accomplish this goal,” AHA CEO Nancy Brown said in a statement.

“Rather than altering the current path forward, we hope the agency focuses more on providing technical assistance that can help schools get across the finish line, if they haven’t done so already,” she explained.

The National School Lunch Program provides lunches to school children for free or at a reduced price. The lunches are heavily regulated and are required to adhere to strict nutritional standards imposed by Michelle Obama, who made fighting obesity a key issue for her during her time in the White House.

But the program was far from popular and pictures of lunches from the program went viral dozens of times, with many students using the hashtag “ThanksMichelleObama” to share pictures of their lunches:

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