Six states and the District of Columbia sued the Department of Agriculture on Wednesday, saying it weakened nutritional standards in school breakfasts and lunches when it relaxed the requirements affecting salt and refined grains previous year.
New York, Illinois, California, Minnesota, New Mexico and Vermont were the states that filed the suit against the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Agriculture Food and Nutritional Service and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
Ms. James said 99 percent of those students qualified for free or reduced-price meals before 2017, when the city made school lunches free for all students.
"Over a million children in New York - especially those in low-income communities and communities of color - depend on the meals served daily by their schools to be healthy, nutritious, and prepare them for learning", New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.More news: Britney Spears Has Checked Herself Into A Mental Health Facility
The lawsuit comes after the Trump administration scaled back contested school lunch standards from the Obama administration. And that by rolling back nutritional requirements, the Trump administration is "attacking the health and the safety of our children", particularly those who live in poverty.
An email seeking comment was sent to the Justice Department.
But public health advocates have cried foul.
In the lawsuit, the states allege the USDA violated federal law by not allowing for public comment ahead of the rule change, and that the change was "arbitrary and capricious". "The "flexibilities" the administration is offering [schools] are both unnecessary and undermining", Laura MacCleery, policy director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told me.More news: Poor diet turns deadly in India, says study
The case is New York et al v. U.S. Department of Agriculture et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-02956.
"By gutting the whole-grain standards and halting the progress in reducing sodium, the Trump administration risks stymieing [sic] this great progress and denying 30 million students access to healthy nutritious meals", New York Attorney General Letitia James said at a news conference, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. School nutrition directors have argued that it's tough to implement changes that may turn kids' off, so they need more time to figure out how to lower sodium levels and boost whole grains.More news: Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play warning issued after 10 deaths