Ex-Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue issues a ruling on grits


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Ex-Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue issues a ruling on grits

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AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue  on Monday signed an interim school nutrition rule. He announced the “flexibility” measure at Catoctin Elementary School in Leesburg, Va.

One of Sonny Perdue’s first acts as the nation’s agriculture secretary was an announcement Monday that his agency will take a more hands off approach to school nutrition.

During a visit to a Virginia elementary school, the former Georgia governor said schools are struggling to produce food that students will eat under Obama era regulations.

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Being from the South, he of course used grits as an example: the regulations require the whole grain variety but that kind has “little black flakes,” he said, “and the kids won’t eat it. ... That doesn’t make any sense.”

Neither the Georgia School Nutrition Association nor Georgia Organics, which is behind the “farm to school” movement, were immediately available for comment. Nor was the Georgia Department of Education. But the announcement that states will be allowed to exempt schools from serving grain in everything will likely appease schools that find piles of uneaten food in the trash bins while rankling those who link school food to declining student health.

The rate of obesity among children has more than tripled over the past four decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Perdue’s proclamation giving schools more “flexibility” also says sodium levels will not have to decrease as previously required and schools will be allowed to serve flavored, 1 percent fat milk. 

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