(Feb. 9) Tater tots and mystery meat should yield to fresh produce and whole grains in school lunches.

A group of nutrition advocates is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to update its nutrition standards for school meals.

A letter asking for revised nutrition guidelines for school meals was sent Jan. 24 to Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns from more than 50 members of the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity.

Representatives of several produce associations signed the letter, including the Newark-Del.-based Produce Marketing Association; the Washington, D.C-based United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association; the Vienna, Va.-based U.S. Apple Association; and the Wilmington, Del.-based Produce for Better Health Foundation.

The alliance includes nutrition advocates and consumer groups, including the American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Ga., and the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest.

The coalition wants the USDA to propose a rule to update nutrition standards for school meals, said Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition and health for United.

The USDA has gone more than a decade without updating school nutrition standards, DiSogra said.

She said changes to the school lunch standards could mean one to two more servings of fruits and vegetables per student per day.