HAYWOOD COUNTY-- In 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act specifically forbids the agency from granting waivers from the new nutrition standards.
However, in a 2014 article by foodsafetynews.com "School Waivers From New Nutrition Standards Could Become Bridge to 2015 BY NEWS Desk| MAY 20, 2014" apparently the trend for waivers began after Congress found a way around it.
New language offered by the House Appropriations Committee would allow schools than can demonstrate economic hardship to obtain a temporary waiver from new nutrition standards for the upcoming 2014-15 school year. In 2015, the standards might undergo revisions.
Congress is using budget language in an attempt to persuade USDA to grant waivers for the next school year based on economic hardship being created by changes in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). SNA, said the bill contains language that simply allows schools with six months or more of operating losses to apply for a one-year waiver from compliance with costly meal pattern requirements
Haywood County Schools applied and recieved a waver using economic hardship.
In an announcement for Immediate Release titeled: Haywood County Schools – Buttermilk Biscuits Are Back! School District Receives Waiver to Ease Punitive Federal Regulation
Haywood County, North Carolina – March 20, 2015
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 created a number of strict regulations for public school meals, Lunch Program, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) programs and Child and Adult CareFood Programs. These federal regulations include, but are not limited to, the use of only whole grain products, sodium restrictions and calorie restricts.
“The implementation of the restrictive federal food regulations has been devastating for our students and the School Food Service Program,” said Alison Francis, School Food Service Director.
“While many students adjusted to whole grain buns, others simply refused to eat whole grainbiscuits, rice and other previously popular foods.”
Since the implementation of the federal regulations, the percentage of the students eating school meals has declined by nearly 5%. “This is only part of the story,” said Associate Superintendent Bill Nolte. “The regulations require us to put food on student trays even if the student does not want the food. Then we are required to throw away a lot of perfectly good food because there are other regulations that prevent us from giving the wasted food to people who could use it. It is just a regulatory mess.”
Since money was being lost because students were not eating some of the foods, the school districtsought and received a temporary waive to use some non-whole grain foods. “We are so excited that buttermilk biscuits are back,” said Superintendent Anne Garrett. “The last thing we want is for students to be hungry at school because of federal food regulations. To celebrate the temporary waiver, we are planning ‘Butter Biscuits are Back’ activities at each school on April 1st. No fooling, pun intended.”
“We hope other waivers or changes come in the future,” said Bill Nolte. “There is no scientific evidence to support the sodium regulations for children and the regulations actually cause the removal of some essential nutrients like potassium. In my opinion, food selection should be a family matter and not a matter regulated by the federal government."
“We were just granted a waiver to offer 50 percent of our bread offerings could be white versus the whole grain. Right now it's 100 percent. But this waiver will allow us to go to 50 percent,” says Food Services Director Alison Francis.
To celebrate, the district will offer free biscuits and gravy to students and staff on April 1.