Help Support Jamie Oliver’s Campaign for Compulsory Food Education

As I’ve written here many times before, I’ve come to believe that the only way we can wean children off highly processed and fast food is by not only teaching them why such foods are detrimental to their health but also teaching them how to prepare healthy food at home.  Without the latter skills, nutrition education is merely academic and unlikely to produce meaningful lifestyle changes.

This is why I’ve long been a fan of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who has been working hard for years to support greater food literacy in the UK and around the world. In connection with this year’s Food Revolution Day (May 15, 2015), Oliver has launched a new Change.org petition asking the G20 countries to make food education a mandatory part of their schools’ curricula.  The petition was launched just a few days ago and already has over 100,000 signatures.

Please consider adding your name to and sharing the petition.  And for more on this year’s Food Revolution Day campaign, here’s Oliver’s video about it.

Thanks, all!

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Sometimes a Waffle Is More Than Just a Waffle, Or, Home Cooking as Political Act

Salt Sugar Fat, Michael Moss’s compelling expose of how the food industry has “hooked” us on highly processed foods, concludes that “only we can save us” from the hazards of the modern American diet.  In other words, while we wait around for Big Food to voluntarily reform itself, or for our government to compel it to do so (developments I’m not sure I’ll see in my lifetime), Moss suggests that our only recourse against the food industry’s influence is to reassert individual control over the food we eat.

Melanie Warner’s Pandora’s Lunchbox, a disturbing investigation of the many untested chemicals in our food supply, ends on the same note.  After concluding the book with a chapter on the need for more home cooking and widespread cooking education, Warner writes:

While there are clearly policy changes that would make the job of cleaning up our food a whole lot easier . . . . the choice of what we feed ourselves and our children is ultimately ours.

After the new documentary Fed Up shows how Big Food and our government have misled the American public about the risks of eating a highly processed, sugar-heavy diet, it, too, ends with a call to action urging Americans to break their dependency on processed food and get back into the kitchen (aided by Fed Up co-producer Laurie David’s new cookbook, The Family Cooks).

And perhaps no one has made a stronger case for home cooking as a political act than Michael Pollan, whose latest book, Cooked, A Natural History of Transformation, argues that “taking back control of cooking may be the single most important step anyone can take to help make the American food system healthier and more sustainable.”

So when I headed into the kitchen with my 11-year-old son to make Sally Kuzemchak’s Zesty Lemon Waffles with Blueberries in honor of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day —  taking place today, all over the world — it had more significance than just spending a fun morning together.  As Jamie Oliver states in this year’s Food Revolution Day message:

I believe that it’s every child’s right to be taught about food, how to cook it and how it affects their bodies. Without this fundamental knowledge, they’ll grow up without the skills or even the desire to eat better.

I hope I’m empowering my kids with that fundamental knowledge when we cook together — and when we all sit down to a home-cooked meal five or so nights a week.  I want them to learn by osmosis that we don’t need Big Food to feed us, and that we can actually do a better job when we take back control of the cooking.

This is normally the point when I’d share the waffle recipe and photos*, but as I mentioned yesterday, Brianne DeRosa of Red, Round or Green has done that job for me (and the other bloggers cooking with their kids today) by creating a fabulous and free digital cookbook for you.  Just click on the photo below to access the book.

flipsnack book food revolution

All I’ll share here is a photo of the finished product and my son’s glowing “review:”

photo 10

 

And, by the way, here’s what my son avoided eating by making these waffles from scratch, instead of relying on Kellogg’s to do the job for him:

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 9.13.07 AM

Please be sure to visit all the other bloggers (and their kids) sharing Food Revolution Day with me and my son: Grace Freedman of Eat Dinner.org, Brianne DeRosa of Red, Round or Green, Mia Moran of Stay Basic Magazine, Sally Kuzemchak of Real Mom Nutrition, Caron Gremont of First Bites and Lynn Barendsen of The Family Dinner Project.   And you can follow all the Food Revolution Day activities going on around the world today by following Twitter hashtag FRD2014.

Happy Food Revolution Day, TLTers!

* Unfortunately, my camera-shy preteen only allowed his hands to be photographed for the cookbook, so apologies for that.  I briefly considered hiring a neighbor’s kid to pose as my son, but since someone actually did once accuse me of passing off models as my kids, I figured I’d better drop that plan!  :-)

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A Free Digital Cookbook Coming Your Way Tomorrow

Tomorrow, May 16th, is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day.  In the past I’ve marked this day with some of my favorite fellow food bloggers by hosting what we called “virtual progressive dinner parties” in which each of us prepared a different course of a single meal.  But this year the theme of the day is “Let’s Get Kids Excited About Food,” so we’ve decided to do much the same thing with a full day’s set of meals – and we’re going to let our kids do the cooking!

We’ll start with breakfast, prepared by me and my son, then move onto a healthy snack with Grace Freedman of Eat Dinner.org and her daughter.  Brianne DeRosa of Red, Round or Green will offer lunch recipes cooked up by her two sons, followed by a multi-course dinner: a salad from Mia Moran of Stay Basic Magazine and her children, an entrée prepared by Sally Kuzemchak of Real Mom Nutrition with her sons, and side dishes by Caron Gremont of First Bites and Lynn Barendsen of The Family Dinner Project, each cooking with their kids.

And as a special gift to our readers, Bri has taken all of our recipes and photos and compiled them into a single Flipsnack book to make it a breeze to recreate our dishes at home.  Here’s a sneak peek:

flipsnack book food revolution

 

I hope you can join each of us tomorrow as we head into the kitchen with our kids!  And if you’re a Twitter user, you can see what’s going on around the world on Food Revolution Day by following the hashtag FRD2104.

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 8,100 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (and then adding it to your news feed or interest lists) to get your Lunch delivered, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also join almost 5,000 TLT followers on Twitter, see my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post. And be sure to check out my free video for kids about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory!”

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New Study Argues Against Ban on Chocolate Milk in School Cafeterias

chocolatemilkResearchers at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab have released a new study regarding school chocolate milk that’s getting some press.

The study looked at milk consumption in 11 Oregon elementary school cafeterias in which chocolate milk had been banned.  After the ban, total daily milk sales declined by almost 10%, white milk sales increased by around 160 cartons per day but almost 30% of that white milk was thrown away, and overall school meal participation dropped by about 7%.

The Cornell Food and Brand Lab is led by Dr. Brian Wansink, whom I’ve referred to here as a “master of lunchroom trickery:” Wansink is the leading expert on how subtle changes to the physical layout of cafeterias can induce people to make healthier choices without being aware of the manipulation.  But as my 2011 TLT interview with him made clear, he’s not a proponent of removing less healthy options altogether.   

So, not surprisingly, the research team in the Cornell study concluded that rather than banning chocolate milk outright, food service directors should consider the following techniques, all of which may boost white milk consumption:

(1) keeping all beverage coolers stocked with at least some white milk; 2) white milk representing 1/3 or more of all visible milk in the lunchroom; 3) placing white milk in front of other beverages, including chocolate milk, in all coolers; 4) placing white milk crates so that they are the first beverage option seen in all milk coolers; and 5) bundling white milk with all grab and go meals available to students as the default beverage.

Stacy Whitman of School Bites had an excellent post last Friday examining the study in detail, questioning the interpretation of some of its findings and raising some reasonable questions about possible researcher bias.  She noted:

While I cer­tainly don’t mean to sug­gest any impro­pri­ety, it’s inter­est­ing to note that Wansink served as exec­u­tive direc­tor of the USDA’s Cen­ter for Nutri­tion Pol­icy and Pro­mo­tion around the time that MilkPEP started a $500,000 to $1M Raise Your Hand for Choco­late Milk cam­paign to increase choco­late milk con­sump­tion in schools.

But regardless of the merits and interpretation of this particular study, it doesn’t surprise me that overall milk consumption may have dropped when chocolate milk was removed from the cafeteria.  Back in 2011, I wrote an epically long and somewhat controversial post on chocolate milk in schools and noted there that:

 A recent study which looked at 58 elementary and secondary schools found that on days when only white milk was offered in cafeterias, milk consumption dropped an average of 35 percent.  Yes, yes, I know that study was funded by the dairy industry, and maybe it’s all bunk.  But on a purely anecdotal basis, I have never heard of any school district that did not see a significant, lasting drop in milk consumption when flavored milk was discontinued.

Stacy asked in her School Bites post whether the study findings might have been different if the Cornell study lasted longer than a year:

What would hap­pen if they gave it more time? Would more kids start choos­ing and drink­ing white milk as it grad­u­ally became the norm?

But as I noted in that same 2011 TLT post, this hadn’t proven true in Houston ISD as of the last time I discussed this issue with our Food Services department.  Our district’s breakfast program only offers white milk  and

. . .  HISD indicated that — almost one year after the breakfast program was fully rolled out — kids still don’t want the white milk, disproving the notion that children inured to flavored milk will eventually drink plain if they have no choice.

So, all of this said, where do I come out on chocolate milk in schools?

The main point of my 2011 post was to question why Jamie Oliver (whose “Food Revolution” show was then on television) was focusing so intensely on banning chocolate milk in American schools at a time when there were, in my opinion, far more pressing school food issues which would have benefitted from his celebrity and clout.

And even now, three years later, there are so many other sources of sugar in kids’ diets I’d rather address first, such as the ubiquitous but completely “empty-calorie” sports drinks and sodas many kids consume on a regular basis.  Because while I agree with many experts that dairy is not a necessary part of anyone’s diet (despite relentless dairy industry propaganda to the contrary), the fact remains that dairy, unlike soda and sports drinks, provides children with protein, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin D and phosphorous. It’s also more readily consumed by most kids than other foods providing some of those nutrients, such as calcium-rich sardines, canned salmon with bones or dark green, leafy vegetables.

It’s also worth noting that not all chocolate milk is created equal.  Here in Houston ISD, for example, our cafeterias have been offering for years a flavored milk called TruMoo which has 18 grams of sugar per serving.  That might sound high, but 12 of those sugar grams are from the lactose that’s in white milk as well.  So for 1.5 teaspoons of added sugar, kids are consuming an otherwise healthful beverage.  Contrast this with traditional flavored milk, such Horizon, which has almost 6 teaspoons of sugar — four times as much! — per serving.

That strikes me as a reasonable nutritional compromise, but if the almost 70 comments that came in on my 2011 post are any indication, passions about flavored milk run high!  Let me know in a comment below your thoughts on the Wansink study and/or flavored milk in schools generally.

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join almost 8,000 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (and then adding it to your news feed or interest lists) to get your Lunch delivered, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also join almost 5,000 TLT followers on Twitter, see my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post. And be sure to check out my free video for kids about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory!”

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Help Get Food Education Into Every American School!

The longer I blog on The Lunch Tray, the more I become convinced that the keys to reversing the childhood obesity epidemic and improving kids’ health rest with kids themselves.

That is to say, we absolutely must do what we can to improve our children’s food environment — school food reform, improved competitive food, reining in children’s junk food advertising and more — but unless kids also understand why healthy eating is important and what healthy eating looks like, those efforts may not be effective.   Junk food and fast food will always be available, tasty and cheap and, absent sufficient motivation to avoid them, they unfortunately represent the path of of least resistance for many Americans — children and adults alike.

That’s why I’m so excited about the new partnership between Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and Food Day to bring food education and cooking classes into schools across America.  I briefly told you about the Get Food Education in Every School initiative when it was announced in May, but now you can read more about it in this week’s Huffington Post editorial by Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (the folks behind Food day).  Jacobson writes:

The anti-hunger group Feeding America estimates that elementary school students receive just 3.4 hours of nutrition education — actual education and not marketing — each year. Fewer than 25 percent of high school students take any family and consumer science classes, formerly known as home economics, and those classes are often the first to go when school budgets are trimmed. And parents have to shoulder some of the blame, when, in all too many harried households, “cooking” actually means “microwaving” or otherwise heating some well-preserved, factory-extruded, combination of flour, fat, salt, sugar, dyes, and other chemicals.

But just as we expect our schools to do the heavy lifting when it comes to teaching geography, algebra, physical education, and history, we should expect schools to teach children about food — where it comes from and how it affects our bodies and our health

In the campaign’s first year, organizers hope to raise awareness about the lack of food education and to build a broad coalition that will build support for food education at the local, state, and federal levels of government.

I’m proud to be one of the early supporters of this effort (you can read my thoughts on Jamie Oliver’s blog here), along with The American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, American College of Lifestyle Medicine, American Medical Students Association, Edible Schoolyard Project, Center for Ecoliteracy, The Food Trust, National Association of Nutrition Professionals, Wellness in the Schools, and Nourish.

I hope you’ll join me by signing this petition to show your support as well.  You can also promote the campaign on social media using the #FoodEd hashtag and you can follow the effort on Pinterest.

I’ll be participating in periodic conference calls with the campaign organizers and will share more information about Get Food Education in Every School throughout the coming year.  And when school starts up again, I’ll also be sharing an interview with Michael Jacobson about the effort.  If you have particular questions you’d like me to ask him, feel free to leave them in a comment below.

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 6,200 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (and then adding it to your news feed or interest lists) to get your Lunch delivered fresh daily, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also follow TLT on Twitter, check out my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post. And be sure to check out my video for kids about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory!”

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Will Ferrell As School Food Reformer? Why I’m Worried

The Huffington Post reported yesterday that the story of Jamie Oliver’s fraught attempt to improve the school food in Los Angeles USD, documented on his Food Revolution show last summer, is going to be adapted into a feature-length movie.   Ryan Seacrest (producer of the Food Revolution show) will be a co-producer of the film, and the actors Will Ferrell and Sean William Scott are reportedly being considered to play the Jamie Oliver role.

The Hollywood Reporter sums up the movie’s plot this way:

The story centers on a hot Los Angeles chef known for his popular gourmet food truck who gets into trouble and is sentenced to work at a school. The chef revamps the lunch program with a ragtag group of kids.

Now, I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, anything that brings widespread media attention to improving school food is a net good in my book.  But at the same time, no one wants to shell out $9 on a movie ticket to see Will Ferrell deal with the real complexities of school food reform.  We’re unlikely to see him poring over dense regulations, struggling to meet an underfunded budget, lamenting the lack of a real school kitchen in which to cook and store food, dealing with a cafeteria too small to accommodate his students, competing with fast food outlets because of an open school campus, or, most importantly, battling an unyielding Congress for more school food funding.

Instead I think we can fairly anticipate a “feel-good” ending to this film that’s unlikely to bear any relation to reality.  And that’s fine for entertainment purposes  — yikes, even don’t want to see the real thing on screen — but it’s not fine if it leaves moviegoers with the impression that all it takes is “heart” and “pluck” (and, apparently, “a ragtag group of kids”) to fix school food.

In fact, it was just that sort of nonsense that led me, normally an ally of Jamie Oliver, to strongly criticize the Food Revolution show last summer.  I was ticked off by Oliver’s failure to tell viewers that the school he featured as a model for organic, scratch-cooked food actually receives significant outside funding, money which is not currently available to the vast majority of American schools.  In not sharing that relevant piece of information, by comparison every district not serving amazing school food looked poorly run — or just plain uncaring.   And that unfair implication was only reinforced when Jamie asked a worker at this school about the stunning difference between its food and the usual processed junk we see in most districts.  Instead of mentioning the funding differential, she answered, “Well, it helps us to really enjoy our jobs.”

In other words, if a school just has enough “heart” and “pluck,” kids can eat organic lettuces and free-range chicken instead of canned peas and nuggets.

That notion does a real disservice to the thousands of school food directors in this country who are doing their best to serve decent school meals with the appallingly few resources they’ve been given.  And a film selling that false message will only compound their problems.

Still, though, when it comes to a movie about school food, who do you think is going to be first in line on opening night?  I’ll save you a seat and a box of Junior Mints.

[Hat tip to Dana Woldow of PEACHSF.org for tipping me off about the upcoming film.]

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Nine-Year-Old Launches School Food Blog, Sees Reforms

A few readers were kind enough to send me links about Martha Payne, a nine-year-old Scottish girl who last month started taking pictures of and blogging about her school’s meals — a budding Mrs. Q, if you will.

Called NeverSeconds, Martha’s blog rates each lunch using this scale:

Food-o-meter- Out of 10 a rank of how great my lunch was!
Mouthfuls- How else can we judge portion size!
Courses- Starter/main or main/dessert
Health Rating- Out of 10, can healthy foods top the food-o-meter?
Price- Currently £2 I think, its all done on a cashless catering card
Pieces of hair- It wont happen, will it?

Martha’s biggest complaint, besides the hair thing – ick, seems to be that she doesn’t get enough food at lunch. But after just a few posts, Martha’s blog went viral (it’s received over a million hits to date) and also attracted the attention of Jamie Oliver. Embarrassed by the negative publicity, the school council met with Martha’s father and now the school provides unlimited salad, bread and fruit with meals. Grist notes that the quality of the meal itself, in terms of the amount of vegetables served, also seemed to improve after this meeting.

It’s a happy ending, of course, but what really struck me is that some of the meals served to Martha before the council’s change in policy still looked pretty good, at least as compared to some of the school meals in my district. Here’s one of Martha’s meals before the policy change:

Photo source: NeverSeconds, copyright Martha Payne

And here’s a meal from Houston ISD:

This photo was taken in my kids' lunch room a while back

Note the actual plate and silverware in Martha’s meal, versus HISD’s styrofoam tray and flimsy plastic spork, not to mention Martha’s fresh vegetables and roasted potatoes versus our applesauce and overcooked spinach.

Maybe Martha could bring her camera to Houston?

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 3,000 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (or follow on Twitter) and you’ll get your Lunch delivered fresh daily, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also check out my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post.

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Real Food Dinner: Lemon Buttermilk Pudding Cake with Berries and Cream

Clementine and I welcome you for dessert!

Welcome, everyone!

By now you’ve celebrated Food Revolution Day (Eve) by visiting the other hosts of today’s “virtual progressive dinner party:”

But I hope you saved a little room for dessert!  Today we’re making Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Pudding Cake with Fresh Berries, courtesy of Epicurious.  It’s one of my go-to desserts for dinner parties because it’s made in advance and it’s a light, refreshing way to end an elaborate meal.

First, gather your ingredients.  The recipe calls for Meyer lemons but you can definitely use regular lemons, as I’m doing today.  Or you can take the suggestion of some Epicurious commenters and use a mixture of the two types.

Blend the egg yolks, melted butter, flour, lemon juice, half the sugar and buttermilk  . . .

. . .until smooth:

Now beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  By the way, I followed the suggestion of Epicurious commenters and threw that extra fourth egg white into the bowl rather than wasting it, with no harm done.

Now add the remaining sugar in small batches . . .

until the peaks are stiff but not dry:

Then fold the lemon batter into the whites in three batches. Be as gentle as you can while folding so you don’t deflate the mixture too much:

Pour the mixture into a greased 8 x 8 x 2 baking dish nested in a roasting pan.  Fill the pan with hot water until it comes halfway up the sides of the baking dish:

Bake for 45 minutes (mine only took about 35 minutes) until puffed and brown but still a bit jiggly:

Cool the pan on a rack, then chill for 3-6 hours in the refrigerator.  When you’re ready to serve, scoop the pudding cake into individual bowls, top with mixed berries and, if you like, add a little fresh cream:

Pretty to look at, yummy to eat!

Delicious!  I hope you agree.

And now for today’s Food Revolution Day giveaway!  The winner of the drawing will have his/her choice of two prizes: one practical, one not so much.

The practical option is a copy of Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes, to help you bring more real food to your own table every night.

The goofier option is what I’m calling “The Lunch Tray Prize Pack” which consists of a coveted Lunch Tray fridge magnet and yes, you guessed it, one of these.  The polar opposite of “real food!”

To enter, just leave a comment on this post before before noon CST Saturday, May 19th and I’ll use a random number generator to select a lucky winner.  If you comment twice (e.g., to respond to something another reader wrote), I’ll use the number of your first comment to enter you in the drawing.   I’ll email you directly if you win and announce the winner on TLT’s Facebook page, too.

Happy Food Revolution Day! 

 

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 3,000 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (or follow on Twitter) and you’ll get your Lunch delivered fresh daily, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also check out my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post.

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Really? 20% of Kids Surveyed Think Pasta Comes from an Animal

Well, that’s apparently true in Australia, anyway.  But would the results of a food literacy survey here in the U.S. be any different?

We’ve talked a lot on The Lunch Tray about the sharp decline in food knowledge and cooking skills in America, a country which ranks last among 20 surveyed nations in terms of time spent in the kitchen.  And who can forget Jamie Oliver’s first season of “Food Revolution,” in which kids in Huntington, West Virginia couldn’t identify common fruits and vegetables by sight?

These issues matter.  When we turn the cooking over entirely to restaurants and the makers of processed foods, we gain convenience at the expense of reasonable portion size and control over ingredients.   The adverse effect on our health, at least as measured by rising obesity rates, is clear.

As I discussed at length in this post a while back, there are no easy fixes for widespread food illiteracy.  While I certainly support the idea of public schools playing a role, I’m not sure how much they can accomplish during this era of No Child Left Behind and budget cuts.  Still, though, it’s worth checking out this new infographic from the Food Revolution demanding compulsory food education.

Guess where 27% of Australian kids think yogurt comes from?

 

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 3,000 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (or follow on Twitter) and you’ll get your Lunch delivered fresh daily, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also check out my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post.

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A Virtual Progressive Dinner Party — and You’re Invited!

Would you care for a glass of wine?

Last year, in honor of Food Day, several bloggers and I banded together to host a “virtual progressive dinner party.”  The idea was that readers could go from one blog to the next for each successive course, and the hosts provided recipes, step-by-step cooking photos, giveaways — and even virtual glasses of wine.

It was so much fun that we’re all getting together again, this time in honor of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day on May 19th.  (Because that’s a Saturday, our party will be held the day before, on Friday, May 18th.)  It seemed a perfect way to mark a day dedicated to food literacy, cooking skills and eating together.

Here’s what’s in store for you on May 18th:

Visit the Food Revolution site to learn more in a post written by Bri of Red, Round or Green, the brilliant mastermind behind last year’s party.

Can’t wait to host you all at my place for dessert — and a giveaway!  (Hmmm . . . could this be my chance to unload another Candwich on an unsuspecting reader? [cackles menacingly])

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 3,000 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (or follow on Twitter) and you’ll get your Lunch delivered fresh daily, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also check out my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post.

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Pink Slime: Controversy Drives Down Prices for Beef Trim, Safeway Discontinues Its Use, and More

This morning I woke up and said, today is the end of daily pink slime reporting on The Lunch Tray!  And then a few items came to my attention that seemed worth sharing with you, given the commitment of TLT readers to the Change.org petition and the issue generally.  So here’s this morning’s round-up:

Lean Beef and Trim Prices Impacted By Petition and Media

Two sources provided me today with an article in Meatingplace, a meat industry publication, regarding the impact of the LBT controversy on meat prices.  The publication requires membership for access, but it reads in part:

Increased cattle carcass weights — brought on by a warm winter — is bringing fatter cattle to market, which doesn’t mean more steaks so much as it means more beef trim.

That, along with reduced demand for lean finely textured beef (LFTB) due to the media storm and its new “pink slime” nickname, is lowering trim prices . . . .

. . . . With less demand for LFTB, it is likely that packers have had to change some of their trim practices  . . . . As a result, we are now seeing significant premiums paid for lean and extra lean product (generally from cows) and discounts for fat.

Safeway Discontinues Use of LBT in Ground Beef

This is huge news.  In response to overwhelming consumer demand, Safeway has announced that it will stop selling beef containing LBT.  Says Jim Avila of ABC News:

Safeway has 1400 stores coast to coast,  second only to Kroger. The chain now joins Publix, HEB, Whole Foods and Costco promising their ground beef is additive free.

Local Efforts Spring Up Around LBT, Grocery Stores and Schools

Now that USDA has left the choice to use LBT up to each school district, and because individual grocery chains have always had the ability to chose to sell meat with or without it, it’s been interesting to see that local efforts are starting to spring up to influence these potential LBT purchasers.

For example, a consumer activist group in Pennsylvania is circulating a petition to ask Giant stores to label beef with LBT.  Meanwhile, Avaaz.org, a social action website, is urging members to circulate local petitions to influence their school districts on the issue.  (I did note, though, that an email to Avaaz members announcing the effort contained a fair amount of misinformation about LBT which could undercut that campaign.)

Petition Nears a Quarter Million

Finally, thanks to the launch of Stop Pink Slime.org by Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution Team, the Change.org petition started here on The Lunch Tray a mere 15 days ago is now getting hovering near a quarter million signatures.  Current count:  a little over 244,000.

Amazing.

 

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 2,500 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (or follow on Twitter) and you’ll get your Lunch delivered fresh daily, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also check out my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post.

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Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Supports Our Petition With Pink Slime Website!

I am SO pleased to announce that Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution team have thrown their support behind our Change.org petition:

stop pink slime

Please go check out their new website, Stop Pink Slime.org— you’ll see a prominent link to the petition, information about Lean Beef Trimmings, plus endorsements from supporting organizations and individuals.

THANK YOU, Food Revolution!

And maybe with Jamie’s help we can push the current signature count (near 237K) over the one-quarter million mark — or even beyond!

 

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join almost 2,500 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (or follow on Twitter) and you’ll get your Lunch delivered fresh daily, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also check out my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Bettina Elias Siegel