School lunch rules OK refined grains, low-fat chocolate milk

NEW YORK — The national school lunch program is making room on menus again for noodles, biscuits, tortillas, and other foods made mostly of refined grains.

The Trump administration is scaling back contested school lunch standards implemented under the Obama administration, including one that required only whole grains be served. The US Department of Agriculture said Thursday only half the grains served will need to be whole grains, a change it said will do away with the current bureaucracy of requiring schools to obtain waivers to serve items made with refined grains.

Low-fat chocolate milk will also be allowed again, and a goal for limiting sodium will be scrapped. Previously, only fat-free milk could be flavored, although that rule had also been temporarily waived.


The School Nutrition Association — which represents cafeteria operators and companies like Domino’s Pizza, Kellogg, and PepsiCo — had called for the scaling back of the whole-grain-only requirement, saying it was too hard for some districts to meet.