California among 6 states suing Trump administration over school lunch standards

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- California is one of several states suing the Trump administration over its new standards on school lunches.

How healthy are school lunches? According to some states, they're not as healthy as they used to be, with the Trump administration rolling back certain standards on things like sodium levels and the amount of whole grain that needs to be in a lunch.

Now, because of that, six states and the District of Columbia are suing the Department of Agriculture to get those healthy standards back.

When the Trump administration rolled back some of the healthy food guidelines four months ago, the United States Department of Agriculture said:

"This decision... is consistent with USDA's commitment to alleviate difficult regulatory requirements, simplify operational procedures, and provide school food authorities ample flexibility to address local preferences."

But Kirsten Roloson, the interim director of nutrition services for the Riverside Unified School District, said the healthy food standards put into place years ago haven't been a problem at all.

"It has not been burdensome for us. We have found ways around it," she said.

For example, she says because they make most meals from scratch, they've found relatively simple ways to keep sodium levels down.

"We found if we added more spices and more herbs, it gave it that flavor without the sodium," Roloson added.

What's interesting is that Roloson says the extra costs for some school districts isn't the fact that healthier foods are necessarily more expensive, it's that some kids just don't want to eat them.

"And if they choose not to eat with you, you're not getting that government reimbursement that we all rely on to stay in business," Roloson said.

She added that from districts she's spoken with across the country, that is a concern, which may be why the administration is easing the rules.

But so far, no comment from the Department of Agriculture on the lawsuit.
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