Food Revolution Community Voice On CongressThu 17 Nov 2011
Story by The Food Revolution Team
This week has brought the disappointing news that some of the new proposed standards for school lunches, based on the Institute Of Medicines recommendations and set by the USDA earlier in the year, likely won’t happen. The final version of the House and Senate’s agriculture spending bill interferes with some of these recommendations, meaning that proposed changes such as limiting servings of starching vegetables won’t happen while pizza sauce will remain as a ‘vegetable’.
Find out more about the Congressional bill and the impact this will have on the proposed school lunch standards here.
This has caused outrage across America among health officials and school food advocates, gaining input and comments from Marion Nestle, Ed Bruske and Mission: Readiness among others, and as Margo Wootan, director of CSPI puts it:
“At a time when child nutrition and childhood obesity are national health concerns, Congress should be supporting USDA and school efforts to serve healthier school meals, not undermining them”(1)
Not only is this bill unpopular among nutrition and health advocates but it has also caused an outcry from our Food Revolution community and activist groups, over 25,000 of whom joined us earlier in the year submitting comments to the USDA in support of these new standards.
What The Food Revolution Community Is Saying
Our Thousand Oaks Food Revolution group, have started this petition which they aim to deliver to Congress this week, and here are just some of our community members comments on this hot topic:
• Denise White I'm afraid it’s things like this that makes me send my kids to school with a healthy packed lunch!
• Janet Nicole Bailey that is RIDICULOUS!!!!!!! This makes me so angry because now schools are trying to tell parents (schools in my area at least) that we're not allowed to pack our own children's lunches because we won't pack them a healthy lunch! How is pizza better for my child than homemade turkey sandwich with tomato and lettuce? My son doesn't even like pizza because we hardly ever feed him that at home.
• Katie Moulding Healthy food done right tastes good and doesn't cost a fortune. Shame on the specials interests that don't have our children in their interests.
• Kasia Price But the problem also is that for many kids, that is all the food that they will get all day long :( Major major fail by our government and a final nail in the coffin proving once and for all that they are working for Big Corporate and Wall Street and not for us, the American citizens.
• Teresa Marriott Disgusting! I want my child to eat a decent lunch. Congress should be ashamed of themselves! Bet they wouldn't eat the stuff served to our children in school.
• Stacy Lozano They claim that the USDA went too far in trying to make the lunches healthy? How is that even possible? Shame on Congress for bowing to special interest and large corporations before thinking of our children's health.
• Lynn OBrien That makes no sense and me nauseous. No wonder we have such a high obesity problem.
• Carissa Mardiros Fabian I love pizza, but in no sense of the word does it qualify as a vegetable!!
• Susan Kozak Sick just sick. I will continue fighting for my child's health in the only way I can: by cooking his food from scratch @ home using organic ingredients & bringing all his meals & liquids to daycare. You should see the junk they serve daycare kids!!! And those kids aren't even in kindergarten yet. This country needs help.
• Patty O'Reilly FB and the net are buzzing with reaction. I hope we will all get angry enough to stand up and be counted and to ACT. Support Jamie in his fight to bring good, healthy good into our schools.
• Virginia Teacher Magazine I thought the initiative was No Child Left Behind? Congress just put every child behind!
What Can We Do?
As childhood obesity remains one of the biggest problems facing America, with the CDC (2) currently estimating that around 17%, or 12.5 million, children aged between 2 and 19 are obese, is this really the solution we need?
What do you think of school lunches so far? Do you think they needed these changes? Check out our School Lunch Photo Wall and add your lunches to it to help us build a powerful showcase.
While many schools are doing amazing things and turning their menus around to improve the health of their students, these setbacks will only make it harder for other schools to follow suit. However you can still help make a change in your local schools and improve the food options available to kids in your area!
Search our activist map for a local Food Revolution community group to join and work through our toolkits together to get the facts, find support and improve the food served in your local schools. You can find out how other schools have done so and get tips, advice and ideas here.
Let us know what you think of this Congressional bill and any actions you are taking against it by posting on our Food Revolution Community wall.
The Food Revolution Team
Read more on this topic from Marion Nestle, Ed Bruske and Mission Readiness.
(1) Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)
(2) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
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