Democracy Forward, Center for Science in the Public Interest and Healthy School Food Maryland Secure Complete Legal Victory Protecting Children’s Health
Washington, D.C. — Late yesterday, the Trump administration quietly announced it “will not pursue an appeal” of a federal court ruling — secured last month by Democracy Forward on behalf of CSPI and Healthy School Food Maryland — that the administration unlawfully rolled back nutrition standards for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, threatening the health of 30 million children nationwide. Now that the unlawful rule has been struck down, the Trump administration will have to start over and engage more transparently with the public if it wants to try to weaken school nutrition standards again.
“This is a full-throated victory for kids and families across America. It’s critically important that children have access to the nutritious foods they need to stay healthy. We’re pleased that the USDA has decided not to appeal on its unlawful decision to ignore nutrition science and put kids’ health at risk,” said Democracy Forward Communications Director Charisma Troiano.
“We hope that this outcome, where the government has to redress an action that would have negatively impacted millions of children, encourages parents to always speak up for the health of their families, communities and schools,” said Fania Yangarber, Executive Director of Healthy School Food Maryland.
“The administration ignored a large body of scientific evidence, and it ignored the law when it clumsily tried to roll back these important nutrition standards for school meals,” said CSPI Policy Director Laura MacCleery. “Fortunately, science prevailed and our litigation has — for now —forced the Trump administration to back away from its harmful policies.”
The announcement was made in the USDA’s notice of dismissal of a similar case filed by New York and five other states and the District of Columbia.
In April 2019, Democracy Forward sued the USDA on behalf of CSPI and Healthy School Food Maryland for issuing a final rule that substantially weakened school meal nutrition standards by slashing the required amount of whole grains and allowing high levels of sodium in school-provided meals. Among other things, the suit charged that the USDA violated the Administrative Procedure Act by eliminating sodium and whole-grain targets without seeking feedback from the public.
On April 13, 2020, the Court agreed that USDA “gave no indication” it would buck science-based nutrition standards and vacated the Trump administration’s rollback.
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.