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The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) yesterday announced new nutritional guidelines for lunches subsidized by the federal government and served in the nation’s public schools, rules that will mean pizzas made with healthier ingredients, the elimination of trans fats, reduction over a 10 year period in the use of sodium, and calorie caps for entire meals. In addition, schools now will have to provide low-fat milk, and flavored milks will have to be non-fat; more whole grains, fruits and vegetables also will have to be made available.

The new guidelines were laid out yesterday by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in an elementary school visit made with First Lady Michelle Obama and celebrity chef Rachael Ray. Stories on the guidelines note that they are not as stringent as those first sought by the Obama administration, which wanted more dramatic cuts in the serving of pizza and french fries. Under pressure from lobbyists, the US Congress also passed a bill establishing that tomato paste - used in pizza - is classified as a vegetable.
KC's View:
I know there is substantial disagreement with me about this in the MNB community, but I believe that this is good public policy. If people a lot smarter than I are convinced that the nation’s obesity crisis is a national security issue, not to mention an enormous problem for the nation’s health care system, then it has to be addressed.

It won’t mean anything if parents don’t feed their kids in a responsible way. I get that. But since this is public money being used to subsidize these lunches, I think that a common sense public policy approach is justified.