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The definition of FMNV must be updated; if the USDA will not exercise its authority, then legislation must direct the agency to do so.
One cogent analysis (predating the act but still relevant to an analysis of competitive food) was offered by Carol Tucker Foreman, the administrator central to the proceedings that established the USDA definition of FMNV. (130)
The congressional directives, however, are intended to ensure that the USDA broadens the scope of the FMNV definition and employs a strong science-based approach while attempting to stave off industry attacks on the methodology as arbitrary and capricious.
Finally, Foreman suggested revising and updating the twenty-five-year-old definition of FMNV. She noted, "If USDA is nervous about this venture and fearful of the purveyors of candy, cookies, and soda, they could always defer to the [National Academy of Sciences] to set the standard." (142)
(146) The bill directs the USDA to update the definition of FMNV. A time limit to accomplish this goal is mandated by statute.
Notably, the revised rules, which apply only to kindergarten through eighth grade, were weakened in several respects including: allowing one-year exemptions for existing vending machine contracts; eliminating the restriction on beverage serving size; regulating food sales only during non-meal times (thus allowing junk food sales other than the federal FMNV allowed during meal times); and removing the reference to trans-fatty acids because information about their content is not readily available on all food packaging.
Federal actions in the 1970s that sought to regulate FMNV had a positive impact on Los Angeles and other California schools.
Nutritional science has progressed far beyond what regulators had available to them when the first FMNV definitions were established.
Junk foods--officially, Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value (FMNV)--are currently defined as foods that provide less than 5 percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for eight specified nutrients per serving.
Congress could modify the law to state that schools now cannot define FMNV. If Congress were to do so, federal preemption would preclude state legislatures and local school districts from passing state laws or local policies touching on competitive foods if Congress reserves that power to itself.
(2) Health experts and governmental entities continue to debate over how to allow children to consume FMNV from time to time while ensuring that FMNV do not replace a balanced breakfast or lunch when children are at school.
FMNV compete for children's coins and calories in the school food environment.
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