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Agriculture Secretary greeted by protests in Va. as he announces school lunch changes

Agriculture Secretary greeted by protests in Va. as he announces school lunch changes. (Jeff Goldberg/ABC7)

Of all the students eating lunch today with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue at Catoctin Elementary, Charlie and Tyler were not among them,

“We do not agree with that’s going on here today at our school. We didn’t want our kids to be a part of it.” Deanna Levanty is here at Catoctin with other parents and grandparents protesting changes to school lunches by Secretary Perdue, “It’s the quality of food that needs to change. They need to have fresh food.”

“We’re seeing more trays thrown out and less food eaten which is not what we want,” Perdue said.

That, according to the Secretary, is one of the main reasons for the proclamation signed today making three major changes. He said the federal government will now:

  • delay requirements to lower sodium amounts in school lunches;
  • will allow exemptions for schools unable to serve 100% whole grains; and
  • schools can now serve 1% milk instead of nonfat milk,

“We’re not reversing any type of nutritional standards," Perdue said. "The meal they get and the caloric intake and nutrition capacity is going to be just as great and we hope it will be even more palatable.”

Today’s changes would rollback rules promoted by former First Lady Michelle Obama. The changes will take effect soon, ready for the 2017-2018 school year.

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