- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

First lady Michelle Obama is gearing up to defend her school lunch menus from Republicans in Congress who are calling for a scale-back to the regulations, based on student complaints of going hungry and districts’ claims of losing money.

Mrs. Obama’s set to hold a roundtable discussion at the White House on Tuesday to talk with nutrition experts and school officials who will detail her program’s successes, The Associated Press reported.

The GOP has brought forth a bill that would allow some schools that can prove financial loss to opt-out of the nutritional program that was forged by Mrs. Obama in 2010. But Sam Kass, the director of her “Let’s Move” initiative, said the bill wasn’t helpful at all to the public discourse on childhood obesity — but rather a “real assault” on the White House’s work for healthier foods in schools, AP reported.

“She wants to have a conversation about what is really happening out in the country,” not just in Washington, D.C., said Mr. Kass, a White House chef, of the roundtable discussion, AP reported. “These standards are really working.”

But Rep. Robert Aderholt, sponsor of the bill that would give schools that saw a six-month financial loss from the school menu program an opt-out ability, said he only brought the measure forward because of pressure from schools — and that these schools are outside Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has already rolled back one of the standards regarding pasta — that only whole-grain can be used — after finding that the food fell apart when cooked in large volumes.

Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee just reached an agreement on rules that would restrict further sodium levels in school menus.

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