At any rate, the frozen food industry made no bones claiming victory. The trade group American Frozen Food Institute immediately released a statement that “commends” appropriators for their “balanced approach to implementing new school meal standards.”
Even before the final vote in the House and in the Senate, Thursday, public health advocates had raised the red flag. Foreign celebrity chefs who’ve been campaigning ceaselessly to save this country from the diabetes epidemic that is threatening the new generation of kids with a shorter lifespan than their parents, are reeling. The military brass calls the bill a “national disgrace.” “This new effort to undermine school nutrition regulations raises national security concerns,” said Amy Dawson Taggart, director of the national security nonprofit Mission: Readiness, a non-profit, nonpartisan national security organization led by over 250 retired generals, admirals, and other senior military leaders. Their concern is ensuring the perennity of the U.S. military, when one youth in four already is unfit for service because of obesity.
The USDA is going to have to change its final rules—due out by the end of the year—to comply with the new legislative language. Critics can only hope that these rules will be changed again when the bill expires at the end of next year.
I’m curious to see if First Lady Michelle Obama, America’s queen of healthy food and lifestyle, pipes up. She’s been a driving force behind both the new school lunch legislation, and the ex-new USDA dietary recommendations. This time around, Barack may end up on the couch for real.