Trump’s USDA Ignored Scientific Evidence to Unlawfully Roll Back School Meal Nutrition Standards


WASHINGTON, D.C.—In time for National School Lunch Week, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Healthy School Food Maryland, represented by Democracy Forward, pushed back against the Trump administration’s efforts to dismiss their lawsuit challenging USDA’s unlawful rollback of nutrition standards for meals served as part of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs.  The administration’s illegal action allows more salt and fewer whole grains in school meals, puts the health of nearly 30 million children in jeopardy and violates federal law.

The Trump administration unlawfully ignored statutory requirements to align school nutrition standards with established nutrition science and nutrition recommendations provided in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Not only did the Trump administration weaken nutrition standards and allow schools to serve more sodium and fewer whole grains than is recommended by nutrition scientists, but they did so without providing a reasoned explanation and without adequately responding to the more than 96% of public comments opposing the rollbacks.

“By reversing important progress on kids’ nutrition, the Trump administration is simultaneously showing its disregard for children, its hostility to science, and its contempt for the law, which plainly requires school meals to comport with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” said CSPI Policy Director Laura MacCleery.

“Parents have expressed their concerns to us that these rollbacks undermine their confidence in the healthfulness of the food being served in area schools; the uncertainty makes it difficult for us to educate and arm parents with accurate facts. How do we tell our kids that the food they’ll get in school doesn’t need to meet the health standards all Americans should be striving for?” said Fania Yangarber, Executive Director of Healthy School Food Maryland.

“The Trump administration’s continued pattern of ignoring science and the law is now putting the health of millions of school children at risk,” said Democracy Forward Counsel Karianne Jones. 

The case is filed in United States District Court for the District of Maryland in Greenbelt, MD.

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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.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is America’s food and health watchdog.

Healthy School Food Maryland is a coalition of over 5,600 members across the state of Maryland, including parents taking a leadership role at their children’s school, promoting delicious, fresh, whole and nutrient-rich foods in schools.

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Charisma Troiano
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