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Trump targets Michelle Obama's signature achievement as first lady — unveils change on her birthday

Better for schools, but better for students?

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration's Department of Agriculture announced plans Friday to roll back Michelle Obama's signature achievement as first lady: her school lunch nutritional standards.

The policy was unveiled, to the ire of some Democrats, on Michelle Obama's birthday, Jan. 17.

"Schools and school districts continue to tell us that there is still too much food waste and that more common-sense flexibility is needed to provide students nutritious and appetizing meals," Agriculture Secretary Sunny Perdue said in a statement. "We listened and now we're getting to work."

The policy change will give schools more flexibility to decide which fruits and vegetable, and how many, they serve to students, while also broadening the definition of a "snack," the New York Times reported.

The policy is also aimed at reducing food waste, a USDA handout said.

Critics of the rule change said the Trump administration is paving the way for unhealthy foods — such as pizza, burgers, and fries — to be school lunchroom staples once again.

"The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 has been called one of the most important obesity-prevention policy achievements in recent decades. Yet the Trump administration seems intent on sabotaging it. While there's plenty of room to strengthen school nutrition further, these proposals taken together instead are basically aiming a flamethrower at it," Colin Schwartz, deputy director of legislative affairs for Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the Washington Post.

The rule change is the Trump administration's second effort to roll back initiatives implemented through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

In Dec. 2018, the Trump administration updated nutritional guidelines on flavored low-fat milk, sodium restrictions, and foods with refined grains.

One last thing…
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