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Rep. Noem calls for study of USDA school lunch rules

Rep. Kristi Noem

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Kristi Noem joined House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline, R-Minn., and Representative Phil Roe, M.D., R-Tenn., in requesting a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on the new school lunch standards that are being implemented for the first time this year.

Noem has been a strong voice in questioning the new school lunch standards, which place calorie-maximums on school meals for students. The representatives are requesting that the GAO investigate the challenges in implementing the school lunch program, the costs associated with it and what the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is doing to assist schools in complying with the standards. The letter also requests that the GAO look into the impact the standards have on food waste.

This request is a followup to an Oct. 18 letter sent by Representatives Noem, Kline and Roe to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting additional information on the program. Noem also sent a letter to Vilsack regarding the issue on Sept. 13. No responses from the USDA have been received at this point. A GAO study will help determine the on-the-ground impacts of the new standards so Congress can determine the next steps on how to best address the challenges.