This Tuesday a US government subcommittee voted to go back on its promise of improving school meal standards throughout the country.
Mandatory new school food guidelines, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, include limits on fat, calories, sugar and salt in school meals. They have been phased in over the last two years, and more changes in 2015 are designed to improve the nutritional value of snack offers from vending machines.
However, Republicans have pushed for an amendment that will allow schools struggling to make the changes to opt out. Instead of offering support to these schools, they intend to go back to serving children cheap fast food. The move comes despite evidence that 90% of schools are meeting the new guidelines, and many going beyond the new rules.
Critics of the new guidelines say the changes have caused a drop in students taking school meals because they do not want the new, healthier school food – an issue that has a lot to do with the food education that Jamie has pushed so hard for all over the world.
Last week, during Food Revolution Day, Jamie said: “Every country in the world needs to commit to [food education] if they care about their children. And for those countries that don’t do it, in my mind that’s tantamount to child abuse.
“I’m asking parents around the world to expect more from governments and schools, and to get their kids involved at home too.”
A online petition with over 20,000 signatures is asking the US government to avoid any amendments to the guidelines, and make sure the healthier food is served to all children in the US, whatever school they happen to go to. You can sign it here.