Washington, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem today announced that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has agreed to conduct a study into the new school lunch standards being implemented for the first time this year. On October 31, Rep. Noem was joined by House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Representative Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) in requesting the study, which will help determine the on-the-ground impacts of the new standards and provide guidance on how Congress might be able to address challenges.
“This study is an important step forward in determining any action Congress should take to address the many concerns South Dakotans have expressed to me regarding the new school lunch standards,” said Rep. Noem. “From concerns with calorie-maximums to frustrations with flexibility, increased food waste and costs, this study will help provide some needed answers. As a mother, I understand the importance of ensuring our children receive healthy meals, but students, parents and schools deserve a school lunch program that works for them, and that’s what I’ll continue to fight for.”
The new standards are part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act that was signed into law in December of 2010 and place calorie-maximums on school meals for students. Rep. Noem has visited a number of South Dakota schools and spoke with students, parents, teachers, food service providers and administrators and has heard the same concerns regarding the adequacy of the calorie maximum, the cost of the new requirements, and increased food waste in school cafeterias. Many schools are also concerned the requirements limit their flexibility and make it more difficult to adapt their menus to meet the preferences and needs of their students and school communities.
Rep. Noem has been a strong voice in questioning the new school lunch standards.
- On September 13, Rep. Noem sent a letter to Secretary Vilsack requesting more information on the new standards.
- On October 18, Rep. Noem followed up with another letter to Secretary Vilsack, this time with Chairman Kline and Representative Roe.
- On October 31, Reps. Noem, Kline and Roe requested the GAO study on the new school lunch standards.