"Parents aren't going to have to worry that kids are using their lunch money to buy candy bars and a Gatorade instead of a healthy school lunch," she said.
The food industry has been on board with many of the changes, and several companies worked with Congress on the child nutrition law two years ago. Major beverage companies have already agreed to take the most caloric sodas out of schools. Those same companies, like Coca-Cola Co. & PepsiCo Inc., also sell many of the non-soda options, like sports drinks, and have lobbied to keep them in vending machines.
Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat, has been working to take junk foods out of schools since the 1990s. He calls the availability of unhealthy foods around campus a "loophole" that undermines the taxpayer money that helps pay for the healthier subsidized lunches.
"USDA's proposed nutrition standards are a critical step in closing that loophole and in ensuring that our schools are places that nurture not just the minds of American children, but their bodies as well," Harkin said.
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