Pasta to count as vegetable for school kids under Trump administration

2020/08/24 19:23

Today's Vocabulary

1.overhauled (v)
to completely change a system
so that it works more effectively

2. flexibility (n) 
the ability to change ability to change easily according to the situation

3. reverse (v)  
to change the direction, order, position, result,
etc. of something to its opposite

4. interfere (v)
to involve  yourself in a situation when your involvement is not wanted or it not helpful 

5. staples (n) 
a main product or part
 of something

6. saturated (adj) 
containing all of a substance that can be absorbed

7.  bill (n)
a formal statement of a planned new law that is discussed before being voted on

8. championed (v)
to support, defend, or fight for a person, belief, right, or principle enthusiastically 

Pasta to count as vegetable for school kids under Trump administration

A serving of pasta will soon count towards pupils’ vegetable requirements in the US after Donald Trump’s government overhauled national guidelines for school meals. The new rules say: ‘Pasta made of vegetable flour(s) may be credited as a vegetable, even if the pasta is not served with another recognizable vegetable.’

Guidelines also halve the fruit intake at breakfasts, allowing the calories to be made up with pastries, as well as stating that potatoes qualify as a vegetable. Experts believe greater scope for ‘à la carte’ meals will allow children to choose more pizza, burgers, chips and other foods high in simple calories, saturated fat and salt.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the new rules would reduce high food waste reported by schools and that ‘more common-sense flexibility is needed to provide students nutritious and appetizing meals’.

The proposed revisions to US Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines reverse many of the changes brought in a decade ago as part of a bill championed by Michelle Obama. The Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 aimed to ensure pupils were offered more fruit, vegetables and whole grain staples, while changing portion sizes and imposing calorie restrictions.

One of the first acts of Mr Perdue, who was nominated by Mr Trump shortly after taking office, was to ease standards aimed at reducing salt content and sweetened milk and increasing wholegrains. He cited food waste and a lack of participation as key reasons for the rollback. The USDA, which Mr Perdue heads, published the first major study of school meals since the Obama-era act in 2018, finding that diet quality had shot up dramatically for school-provided breakfasts and lunches.

The same study found greater participation in school meal programmes, with higher healthy food standards, and that food waste had stayed largely unchanged. A trade body representing school food service providers has called the Obama-era changes ‘a tremendous success overall’ but says some of the requirements reduce participation and cause food waste. Mary Story, a public health professor and member of the USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, has said the Trump administration ‘is going against their own findings’. She told The Washington Post: ‘This makes absolutely no sense. Politics and industry pressure should not interfere with what is best for children’s health.’


  1. What did the U.S. administration overhaul?
  2. Which department released the new dietary guidelines?
  3. What did a health expert say industry should not interfere with?
  4. Who is Mary Story?

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Michael Pollan