Yesterday, a federal court vacated the Trump administration’s 2018 rollback of nutrition standards for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs — a rollback that threatened the health of 30 million children nationwide.
The Court agreed that the Trump administration’s final rule is “not a logical outgrowth” of the proposals on which USDA sought public comment. USDA eliminated the final of three sodium reduction targets without letting the public know. Finding this action unlawful, the Court stated that: “There is a fundamental difference between delaying compliance standards — which indicates that school meals will still eventually meet those standards — and eliminating those standards altogether.”
The Court further found the agency illegally eliminated the requirement that at least fifty percent of grains served in school meals be whole grains and the corresponding product-waiver program. As the Court noted, USDA took “what was a limited, case-by-case exemption” and turned it into “the new rule across the board.”
Now that the unlawful rule has been struck down, if the Trump administration seeks to again weaken school nutrition standards, they will have to start over and engage more transparently with the public.