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As school officials across the country scramble to serve meals to millions of students amid widespread closures, there's a looming regulatory question: What nutrition standards will they have to follow next year? 

A federal court decision on Monday potentially turned the landscape upside down. The court ruled that USDA's 2018 rule to relax whole grain and sodium standards — which had been championed by former first lady Michelle Obama — violated the Administrative Procedure Act. 

"This really puts the agency back at ground zero," said Karianne Jones, a lawyer at Democracy Forward, the legal watchdog group that represented the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Healthy School Food Maryland in their lawsuit against USDA.

Cooking from scratch: If USDA wants to keep its policy, the department will likely have to start the rulemaking over, including soliciting comments, a process that usually takes years, Jones said.

What's next? The government has 60 days to appeal the decision. A USDA spokesperson declined to comment on next steps, noting that the department doesn't weigh in on pending litigation.