This past January, I and two other food advocates, Barbara Kowalcyk and Nancy Huehnergarth, launched a petition seeking to keep Chinese-processed chicken out of school lunch programs and to prevent the eventual importation of Chinese-raised and slaughtered chicken into this country, due to our concerns over China’s very poor food safety record. Astoundingly, that petition has already […]


The petition I launched in January with Nancy Huehnergarth and Barbara Kowalcyk, protesting the inclusion of Chinese-processed chicken in school meals, now has over 308,000 signatures.  Clearly a lot of you share our concern about that country’s terrible food safety record. But are we creating a tempest in a teapot?  One refrain we’ve heard since launching […]


A Lunch Tray Wednesday Buffet!

by Bettina Elias Siegel on February 19, 2014

In the old days on this blog, I’d serve up a “Friday Buffet” of news tidbits that didn’t fit anywhere else.  Today I’m bringing back the Buffet to share these little goodies with you: Update on Chicken Petition First, I wanted to let you know that our petition regarding chicken from China is now at […]


The details are here. Contact with live poultry infected with H7N9 flu appears to be the main means of transmission of this disease to humans, which has affected over 200 people since last spring, killing over 50. But the CDC’s H7N9 travelers’ advisory also cautions against touching dead animals and eating undercooked meat. Another reason, if you […]


Chinese Chicken Petition Passes 1/4 Million Mark

by Bettina Elias Siegel on January 27, 2014

Exactly two weeks ago, I, along with Nancy Huehnergarth and Barbara Kowalcyk, launched a petition regarding plans to import processed and/or slaughtered chicken from China.   Over the weekend the signature count crossed the 1/4 million mark, with a current signature total (as of this writing) at 267,436. The strong response to the petition clearly […]


155,000 Strong Against Chicken From China!

by Bettina Elias Siegel on January 22, 2014

A word to the wise:  don’t start an online petition the same week that your dishwasher breaks and your kids convince you (a former non-dog owner) to adopt a rescue dog!  Needless to say, it’s been a little nuts in my house the past few days. Seriously, though, I do want to apologize for going […]


As many of you know, in March, 2012 I launched on The Lunch Tray a petition seeking to remove lean, finely textured beef (“LFTB,” more widely known as “pink slime”) from the ground beef procured by the USDA for the National School Lunch Program.  The petition garnered over a quarter of a million signatures in just a few days […]


Chinese Chicken, Big Ag’s Influence and What We Can Do

by Bettina Elias Siegel on October 1, 2013

Last week, The Lunch Tray was dominated by discussion of the possible use in school meals of chicken processed in China.  Initially, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service website indicated that such chicken could not appear on school lunch trays but after my post last week, the agency changed its website to make clear […]


No one knows better than I the tremendous potential power of an online petition to bring about needed changes in our food supply.  And now, just a day after the one-year anniversary of the launch of my “pink slime in school food” petition, it’s gratifying to report that two important new food petitions are catching […]


Yesterday I learned that Bruce Smith, a former environmental health and safety officer at Beef Products Inc., has filed a pro se lawsuit in Nebraska state court relating to last spring’s controversy over BPI’s lean, finely textured beef product.  I’m one of the named defendants, along with ABC News, Jim Avila, Diane Sawyer and Jamie Oliver. […]