National Consumers League

NCL disappointed in Congress school lunch nutrition standards debate

May 29, 2014

Contact: Ben Klein, National Consumers League,, (202) 835-3323

Washington, D.C.—Today the House Appropriations Committee voted to weaken nutrition standards required by the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.The waiver exempts schools that claim to be facing economic challenges from complying with reduced sodium and increased whole grain requirements.Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has warned that the proposed waiver is likely to become permanent should it be included in the final 2015 spending bill for the Agriculture Department.  

The National Consumers League, long time advocates for children’s health and nutrition, opposes this ill-conceived proposal.  “Now is not the time to undermine improved nutrition standards for children in school.Playing politics with the future of our nation’s health is wrong. We need to provide students, especially those that are the most dependent on school-provided meals, with wholesome, healthy foods,”NCL’s Executive Director, Sally Greenberg, stated.

As First Lady Michelle Obama points out in her New York Times Op-Ed today, one in three children in America today is overweight or obese and one in three will likely develop diabetes in her or his lifetime. The 2010 Act was a great leap forward.  For the first time, our nation committed to improving standards for what foods could be served in schools.Ninety percent of schools report they are meeting the new standards. As a result, kids are getting more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other healthy foods.

In addition, the bill addresses the need for new lunchroom equipment, cafeteria staff training and nutrition education for students. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be overweight or obese into adulthood, increasing their risk for a myriad of health issues not limited to cancer, diabetes and heart disease.


About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Its mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit