Daily meat requirement dropped in US school meal regulation

By Melodie Michel

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags American meat institute Nutrition

Daily meat requirement dropped in US school meal regulation
A proposal to require US schools to serve meat every day at breakfast has been dropped, after a public consultation exposed concerns over high costs.

In the new school meal guidelines, revealed by US agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack on 25 January, the requirement to serve meat or a meat alternate to children at breakfast does not appear, despite featuring in the proposed rules published by the US Department for Agriculture (USDA) about a year ago.

The American Meat Institute (AMI) regretted the change of approach, saying there was evidence that protein at breakfast was beneficial to children and teenagers.

“At a time when childhood obesity is such a major issue, we are concerned about de-emphasising meat at breakfast. In 2011, a key University of Missouri study concluded that protein at breakfast actually enhanced appetite and weight control in teens. A study in the International Journal of Obesity reached similar conclusions. Lean meat and poultry items as part of breakfast are enjoyed by children and teens and will help satisfy longer,”​ said AMI director of scientific affairs Betsy Booren.

A spokesperson for the USDA told GlobalMeatNews​ that meat had never been a requirement in school breakfasts. “The USDA consulted its experts and made a proposal to update nutrition standards. In this proposal there was a requirement to give meat or a meat alternate daily for breakfast. We then ran a public consultation and received 130,000 comments. Concerns were raised as to the cost the requirement would add for school districts.

“The cost of the whole reform was originally $6.8bn, and it has now dropped by almost half of that, mainly because the meat requirement was cancelled,”​ the spokesperson added.

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