On Friday USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack informed Congress that USDA would temporarily suspend daily and weekly serving limits on meat and grains in school lunches that went into effect at the start of the 2012-2013 school year.
Congressman Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, with the help of his student constituents, has been a leading proponent in Washington of eliminating the new USDA mandates. He joined Iowa Congressman Steve King to introduce the "No Hungry Kids Act" to eliminate the calorie caps that were enacted as a result of the "Healthy, Hungry Kids Act."
Extensive coverage of the proposed legislation — as well as the efforts of students and teachers across the nation, particularly in Kansas — was no doubt influential in undoing the guidelines.
Linda O'Connor, who helped her students at Wallace County High School in Sharon Springs to produce a video, "We Are Hungry," offered the following comment about the USDA's announcement:
"We are so excited that a small town can make a difference in fueling the discussion about school nutrition. This issue has ignited and inspired the kids to become activists in the political system as it relates to the issues that affect their daily lives."
"It was democracy in action to see how students, cafeteria workers, teachers, and parents reacted to the new expensive mandates," Huelskamp said.
"We know one-size-fits-all does not work in the classroom, and this decision by USDA recognizes that such an approach does not work in our cafeterias either. I look forward to USDA's immediate and expanded explanation of the changes in policy, as well as to the ultimate elimination of the entire regulation. Excessive rules and red tape are only creating more headaches, paperwork, and waste."