Crawford Applauds Inclusion of School Nutrition Limits to Appropriations Bill

Crawford hopes legislative language will lead to change in USDA requirements

U.S. Representative Rick Crawford (AR-1) applauded the inclusion of language in the agriculture appropriations bill Thursday allowing greater flexibility of local school districts to determine nutrition standards for their students.

“Since 2012, I have been working to address the concerns of parents, educators, and administrators of the First District with respect to the nutrition standards being enforced by USDA,” said Crawford. “These standards, simply put, place an unnecessary burden on school districts that have little flexibility in implementing these unrealistic standards.”

In October of 2012, Congressman Crawford hosted a Nutrition Summit to hear concerns from parents, administrators, and concerned citizens as to the effects these standards have on families across the First District. The summit was held in response to overwhelming feedback from families and school districts throughout the year that the nutrition standards in the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act have not accomplish the desired goals of healthier lunches for students. School districts have seen significant financial burdens and children have left school hungry.

“After hearing from those in attendance at my summit, combined with overwhelming feedback, I decided to fix these nonsensical standards,” said Crawford.

In March of 2013, Rep. Crawford, along with the entire Arkansas House delegation, introduced H.R. 1244, the Sensible School Lunch Act of 2013. The bill removes the maximum quantity of grains or meat served in the lunch program, giving school administrators and parents a greater ability to make their own nutritional determinations. The bill addresses the main concerns voiced by parents and administrators. The bill has received support of the Arkansas School Nutrition Association.

Earlier this year, Representative Crawford requested that the Appropriations Committee stop unrealistic whole-grain and sodium standards required by USDA. Last week, Representative Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Subcommittee Chairman of the House Agriculture Appropriations Committee, announced a provision in the agriculture appropriations bill requiring USDA to establish a process that will allow schools demonstrating economic hardships to seek a temporary waiver from nutrition requirements. Representative Crawford applauded the Chairman’s willingness to include this language and said it underscores the necessity for people to engage and remain engaged with their elected officials in Washington.

“The regulatory onslaught by bureaucrats in Washington is overwhelming,” said Crawford. “While I believe we must ensure our children have access to healthy meals, the USDA’s nutrition standards have gone too far. Washington bureaucrats are in the business of making decisions that should be made by parents and school administrators on the local level. These folks work together on a daily basis and best understand the needs of Arkansas students. I hope that by including this limitation language in the upcoming appropriations bill, the House will provide much-needed relief to educators, parents, and our children.”

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