The New York Times has an excellent article today describing the stiff opposition of the food industry (along with some Congressional representatives of potato-producing states) against current attempts to improve school food nutrition standards. According to the report, over $5.6 million has been spent to date by lobbyists opposing the proposed school food rules to be promulgated under last year’s passage of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.
At particular issue are proposed reductions in sodium (which, according to the food industry, will make food unpalatable to children) and a reduction in the amount of starchy vegetables (read: potatoes) that may be served to school kids. Needless to say, potato-producing states are not pleased and have been successful so far in attempting to block that particular proposal.
For more, check out this recent New York Times report on the potato controversy specifically, along with blog posts about it by Ed Bruske (Better D.C. School Food) and Chef Ann Cooper and Chef Beth Collins. (And I can’t leave the potato topic without sharing Stephen Colbert’s humorous take as well.)
As Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said in today’s Times story:
This whole fight obscures the fact that the U.S.D.A.’s proposal is about helping kids eat a wide variety of vegetable and make lunches overall healthier. . . . It’s about our children’s health. I think that point has long since been lost.
So sad, and so true.
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