WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department would be given the power to regulate all food sold in schools -- including vending machine snacks -- when Congress renews child nutrition programs, the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee said on Tuesday.
Agriculture Committee work on child nutrition will begin with a draft that gives the USDA the authority to oversee all food in schools, so nutrition programs are not "undermined" by junk food in vending machines, Harkin said at a confirmation hearing for the head of the USDA's nutrition programs.
At present, USDA oversees the contents of school lunches and bars the sale of foods with minimal nutritional value, such as soda in the lunchroom. It does not control food sold in a la carte lines or school stores.
Concannon, who ran food stamp and public nutrition programs in Iowa, Maine and Oregon during his career, noted he has seen "pushback" from schools that count on revenue from vending machines to pay for student activities.