Photo: Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images

A federal court in Maryland blocked on Tuesday the Agriculture Department's rollback of nutrition standards for the National School Lunch Program, a cause championed by former first lady Michelle Obama, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The 2018 rollbacks cut whole-grain requirements and allowed for higher sodium levels in school meals. The court found that the rule change violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which outlines how federal agencies issue new regulations.

  • The court found that the 2018 rule change was significantly different from interim rules the administration set up a year earlier, and therefore did not adhere to the APA.

What they're saying:

“The court concludes that the rule is not inconsistent with federal law, it does not reflect unexplained and arbitrary decision making, it does not represent an unacknowledged and unexplained change in position, and the U.S.D.A. appropriately responded to public comments. The court does find, however, that the final rule is not a logical outgrowth of the interim final rule, so it must be vacated.”
— U.S. District Judge George Hazel

Of note: The administration has proposed another rule change to nutrition standards for fruits and vegetables in school and summer meal programs.

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