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Where's the beef?

The federal government has been trying for more than a decade to recognize yogurt as something more than an "uncredited food" in its meals programs.

But now, regulations proposed by the Department of Agriculture that would classify 4 ounces of yogurt as an alternative to 1 ounce of meat are coming under attack.

Sen. Larry Pressler, R-S.D., and representatives of the meat-producing industry are lobbying the USDA to withdraw the proposed rule, which would apply to school meals. ("The Other White Meat: Yogurt Aimed Toward Lofty New Status," Aug. 7, 1996.)

Opponents argue that children are more accustomed to meat products and that the nutritional value of meat, which contains the iron and zinc yogurt does not, is greater than that of yogurt.

"Convenience to food-service personnel is not and should not be an acceptable argument for proposing that it should now become a meat alternate," said DuWayne Slaathaug, the president of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, in a letter to the USDA. "Foods from the meat group are expected to not only be a source of high-quality protein, but also a good source of iron, zinc, thiamin, and niacin."

The comment period on the proposed rules was scheduled to close Aug. 17, but the USDA extended it through Sept. 3. It is unclear when final regulations will be issued.

Credit check

The Internal Revenue Service is investigating the college course taught by Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich of Georgia, The Associated Press reported last week.

The news service said officials at Kennesaw State University in Marietta and at Reinhardt College in Waleska, the two Georgia schools where Mr. Gingrich taught the course, confirmed the IRS audit was under way.

Auditors are examining whether the course, "Renewing American Civilization," financed by tax-deductible donations to private foundations, fell under federal rules for tax-exempt donations.

One of the foundations receiving the donations, the Progress and Freedom Foundation, was run by Mr. Gingrich.

--MARK PITSCH

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