Florida Agriculture Department to control cafeteria menu

The Florida Agriculture Department will soon be in charge of school cafeteria food, taking over from the United States Department of Agriculture. The change was made during the recently concluded legislative session, at the request of Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putman.

The law, dubbed Healthy Schools for Healthy Lives, is designed to put more fresh fruits and vegetables on the menu.

“Currently the USDA is over everyone in the country and then it breaks down [to the] Florida to the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education,” Brevard County Dietitian Specialist Lori Nelson said.

Despite the transition, the type of food served in not expected to be greatly impacted.

“This will not change what is served because we follow USDA regulations and that is still the main agency for everyone,” Nelson said.

Lunch prices could change, however, because of the Hungry, Healthy Kids Act, a newly enacted federal law designed to provide healthier, more nutritious school meals to more children and to help ensure that no child goes to school hungry.

“The price is a federal guideline,” Nelson said. “However due to the Hungry, Healthy Free Kids Act which was passed [in December] meal prices may change in the next school year or the school year that follows. That has not been determined yet due to the final revisions of the act [that are] not out yet.”

Price changes would impact how many students buy lunch at school.

“I might not buy lunch as often depending on how much the prices went up,” sophomore Callie Heuser said.

By Addie Steele