(AP) — Pizzas and hamburgers in the school lunch line would be healthier under child nutrition legislation passed by the Senate Thursday, a key part of first lady Michelle Obama's campaign to end childhood obesity.
The $4.5 billion legislation passed by voice vote would create new standards for all foods in schools, including vending machine items, to give students healthier meal options. It would also expand the number of low-income children eligible for free or reduced cost meals.
The legislation had stalled since Senate committee passage in March, but it gained new attention as the White House became involved this week. President Barack Obama on Thursday called Sen. Tom Coburn, (R-Okla.), who had concerns about the cost of the bill and had threatened to object to it, to assure him the legislation was paid for.
The bill has been a top priority for Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln, an Arkansas Democrat who is in a tough re-election race this year.
The National Pork Board is actively engaging processors to make sure the school lunch program knows about the healthy pork options that meet school lunch and breakfast requirements. "We think the law will allow for a lot of opportunities for pork, including 96 percent lean ground pork," says Ceci Snyder, NPB marketing vice president. "It will also probably spur even more lower-sodium pork offerings."
Source: Associated Press, Politico.com