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Students order up pizza at AA Kingston Middle School in Potsdam. Photo: Julie Grant
Students order up pizza at AA Kingston Middle School in Potsdam. Photo: Julie Grant

USDA revises school lunch rules

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The federal government is easing its new rules for school lunches. In a letter to members of Congress Friday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the USDA would remove calorie limits on grains and meats in schools.

At the same time, Vilsack defended the program put in place last fall. He wrote it's ensuring twice the amount of fruits and vegetables in school lunches, and a "substantial" increase in the use of whole grains.

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Reported by

David Sommerstein
Reporter/ Producer

It doesn't make sense if kids are walking away real hungry from a midday meal. --Congressman Bill Owens
The decision is a response to stiff criticism from lawmakers and school administrators nationwide, including from North Country Congressman Bill Owens.

Owens says the change goes a long way to satisfying the biggest concern he's heard - that children simply weren't getting enough to eat. "It doesn't make sense if kids are walking away real hungry from a mid-day meal," says Owens, "particularly when they have the rest of the afternoon of school as well as extracurriculars. It looks, on its face at least, to be a reasonable compromise."

Owens said he'll keep consulting with local school leaders to see if more changes are needed.

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