U.S. Rep Joseph Pitts visited Penn Manor High School Thursday for lunch – and a chance to learn more about the federal nutritional standards that have impacted all public school lunch programs.
Pitts ate a meal of turkey, mashed potatoes and green beans alongside four Penn Manor students, district officials and food service directors from Donegal, Warwick, Ephrata, Hempfield and Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13.
After lunch, he asked the group for feedback on the new regulations, which require fewer calories, less fat and more whole grains, fruits and vegetables in school lunches and snacks. The stricter standards were mandated to combat childhood obesity.
Students complained that some cafeteria foods are less tasty and lunches less filling, forcing them to pay more for extra portions so they won’t get hungry later in the day.
Food service directors told Pitts participation in lunch programs has decreased, while food waste is up. In addition, some foods have become more expensive, once-popular locally produced food items are no longer available, and cafeteria revenue has declined. They asked for more flexibility in meeting the standards.
Pitts invited the food service directors to testify in Washington about the impact of the nutritional standards when Congress considers renewing school lunch legislation. But his aide pointed out that the standards are not likely to change any time soon.
Thank you, Rep. Pitts for visiting Penn Manor to find out firsthand about this important topic.