WASHINGTON, D.C. – Former first lady Michelle Obama took a swipe at the Trump administration on Friday, alleging a recent move to roll back her overbearing school food regulations means “they don’t care about your kid.”
Michelle Obama-inspired school food restrictions imposed in 2012 have drawn complaints from students, parents, nutritionists and school food service workers for years, and recently confirmed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue heeded calls to roll back some of the regulations earlier this month.
Perdue said the decision to delay further restrictions on salt and to allow exemptions for schools to sell grain products that are not 100 percent whole grain was based on “years of feedback from students, schools and food service experts.”
The chances, along with a decision to allow schools to serve 1 percent flavored milk instead of only white nonfat or skim allowed under the current regulations, came at the behest of the School Nutrition Association and more than 1.4 million students across the country who dropped out of the National School Lunch Program since the regulations went into effect.
But Michelle Obama implied a much more nefarious motive for the decision during an annual health summit designed to promote her “healthy” eating campaign, the Associated Press reports.
While not naming Trump or Perdue, she insisted parents “look at motives” for relaxing the rules a bit.
“You have to stop and think, ‘Why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you and why is that a partisan issue?” Obama said in a video of the event posted to YouTube. “Why would that be political?”
“What’s going on?” she continued.
“That’s up to moms. Moms, think about this. I don’t care what state you live in, take me out of the equation, like me, don’t like me, but think about why someone is okay with your kids eating crap,” she said. “Why would you celebrate that? Why would you sit idly by and be okay with that?”
Then she delivered “the secret.”
“Here’s the secret: If somebody’s doing that, they don’t care about your kid,” Obama said. “We need to demand that everyone care deeply about our kids.”
There’s other “secrets,” however, that Michelle Obama didn’t discuss.
Hundreds of schools across the country have removed their food service programs from the National School Lunch Program over a backlash from parents who are enraged by the increasingly small portion sizes and rigid regulations that have rendered school meals intolerable.
Virtually every day students post images of their gruesome meals to social media with the hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama, while many others simply forgo lunch and binge on junk food when they get home.
The former first lady also neglected to mention that a federal mandate in her healthy food rules require students to take a fruit or vegetable every day with lunch, whether they want it or not, a provision that’s contributed to an estimated $1 billion annual increase in school food waste.
In announcing the relatively minor tweaks to school food rules earlier this month, Perdue explained that he has as vested an interest in healthy school lunches as anyone else, and pointed out that unlike Michelle Obama’s regulations, the changes are optional for public schools, EAGnews reports.
“I’ve got 14 grandchildren, and there is no way that I would propose something if I didn’t think it was good, healthful, and the right thing to do,” Perdue said. “And here the thing about local control: it means that this new flexibility will give schools and states the option of doing what we’re laying out here today. These are not mandates on schools.”