Local schools call new lunch regulations more palatable - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Local schools call new lunch regulations more palatable

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Changes are once again coming to school lunches. But, this time federal guidelines are offering district's more flexibility. It's a controversial move some local districts feel is more palatable.

Next school year, when kids go through the lunch line if they want chocolate milk, they'll no longer by limited to only a non-fat option. Instead, 1-percent flavored milk could be back on the menu.

It's just one of three changes rolled out Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In a statement, the USDA says "It doesn't do any good to serve nutritious meals if they wind up in the trash can."

According to the statement, next school year "states will also be allowed to grant exemptions to schools experiencing hardships" when it comes to meeting whole grain requirements. The statement also said more time is needed "to reduce sodium levels in school meals."

At Liberty Schools, the Superintendent tells 21 News that until now restrictions were so tight kids all too often didn't like what they ate.

"If they don't like what they eat, they're not always going to eat and a hungry child is not a child that's going to learn," said Liberty Superintendent Joseph Nohra Jr.

In Canfield, Food Service Director Terri Hutchison said the previous standards also came with a higher price tag.

"The costs go up, student participation in school lunches go down," said Hutchison. "A decline in our participation means less revenue to our schools."

And while some local districts may welcome the changes, the American Heart Association released a statement Wednesday that said the "new rule deserves an F." The statement went on to urge the USDA to leave the nutrition standards intact and said any change "would revoke school nutrition standards that will help kids attain better long-term health and academic success."

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