The Child Nutrition bill passed 264-157 by the House of Representatives Thursday includes several provisions to make school meals healthier and safer.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, had already cleared the Senate by unanimous consent and now goes to President Obama.
While the primary thrust of the measure is to make more school breakfasts, lunches and after-school meals available, it also sets new nutrition guidelines and aims to make it easier for schools to buy locally grown produce.
Schools that meet the recommended nutrition standards, which call for more servings of vegetables and whole grains, would get a modest increase in the government school-meal subsidy.
The measure dedicates $4.5 billion over the next decade to try to improve school meals as well as cut down on some of the junk food available to students, giving the Department of Agriculture authority for the first time to bar foods that do not meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The legislation also calls for regulators to alert schools more quickly in the event of food recalls and provides additional food-safety training for lunchroom food handlers.