Stricter snack rules for schools due soon
WASHINGTON — After more than a year's delay, American schools will soon get new government rules targeting the kinds of snacks sold to students, a move nutritionists say could play an important role in fighting childhood obesity.
Schools have waited anxiously for more than a year to find out how sales of potato chips, candy bars, sodas and similar treats to students will be restricted. These rules on food sold outside traditional cafeteria meals are a key part of the first major overhaul on school food in more than three decades.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a Squirrel Hill native, recently said the rules on what snacks may be offered in vending machines, school stores and the like, originally due in late 2011, are expected to be finished in the early part of this year.
Officially, USDA said it expects the proposal by April, at which point a 60-day public comment period would kick in before final rules are issued — potentially for the 2013-14 school year.
Vilsack said the delay was in part to give food and drink manufacturers, as well as schools, time to adjust to a revamp of cafeteria breakfasts and lunches in early 2012.
Those earlier broad changes, dictating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables on school menus, led to complaints. USDA later gave schools more flexibility on the new menus.
Health advocates want the snack changes to include smaller portions, reduced fat and less sugar.
“We're not saying get rid of the vending machines. Just change what's in them,” said Margo Wootan, head of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group. “We, as parents, don't want our kids eating candy bars and Gatorade for lunch.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Orleans slow to heal 10 years after Hurricane Katrina
- Long Island college student arrested for trying to record police, civil liberties experts say
- Indians, Asians lead Mexicans among immigrants in U.S.
- Deputy fatally shot from behind at Houston gas station
- Obama opens climate change tour
- Man arrested in deputy’s ambush
- Gas boom brings successes, struggles to W.Va. communities
- Clinton: Women ‘expect’ extremism from terrorists, not GOP candidates
- Thousands in New Orleans became targets of unscrupulous contractors
- Prep school graduate Labrie convicted of sex charges
- Surviving panda cub is male