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WASTE WATCH: School Lunches

Updated: Thursday, February 6 2014, 11:14 AM EST

America is feeding school children in huge numbers. More than 30 million receive free and reduced breakfast and lunch each day. Though few would argue the importance of making sure students are fed and get nutritious meals, the way the national school lunch program is being run is generating debate.

The school lunch program costs taxpayers about $14 billion dollars a year. Yet according to the USDA's own estimates $1 billion worth of food is thrown away each year.

Peter Schweizer is with the Government Accountability Institute.  He says one problem is a new government initiative called 'Community Eligibility.'

"[It] essentially means an entire community can be opted in to get reduced or free school lunches…whether they need it or not," Schweizer said.

Pete Sepp is with the National Taxpayers Union, a group that found another problem. The Union found that school often feel pressured to enroll students for free and reduced lunch for fear of losing federal dollars in other areas.

"One thing Washington could do would be to delink some of these aid programs from each other," Sepp said. "And say 'Look we're not going to penalize you if you don't have a lot of hungry kids in your school.'"

Calls were made to the USDA for comment but those calls were not returned.

WASTE WATCH: School Lunches


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