The Time Is NOW to Tell USDA We Want Junk Food Out of Schools

I wanted to remind TLT readers that midnight tomorrow, April 9th, marks the end of USDA’s public comment period on its proposed  “competitive” school food rules.

For those needing a refresher, “competitive food” is food that competes with the federally subsidized breakfast and lunch programs.  We’re talking about the snack foods and beverages offered on school campuses through outlets like vending machines, school stores, snack bars, cafeteria “a la carte”  lines and more.   As part of the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act  in late 2010, USDA was directed to issue rules governing the nutritional content of these foods and beverages and the proposed rules were finally released in February of this year.

Many kids get the majority of their calories at school, so when campuses are awash with junk food and sugary drinks it can have a very real impact on student health.  The presence of junk food also undermines participation in the nutritionally balanced federal meal program and it undercuts whatever nutrition information kids may be getting in the classroom.

While USDA’s proposed rules do leave some room for improvement (I highlighted the key issues for you the day the rules were released), overall they represent a huge leap forward in bettering our kids’ school food environment.  So please consider taking one moment today or tomorrow to either leave a comment with USDA or to sign a petition indicating that you support the new rules.  Two petitions I like are this one from the Center for Science in the Public Interest and this one from Prevent

If you’d like more information, here’s a brief summary of the MomsRising Tweetchat on the rules in which I participated a while back (and to those of you who asked to see this after the chat, sorry for the delay!).  Also, here’s my radio interview with MomsRising about the rules (look for the show titled “Wake Up!” – my segment starts at the 20:05 mark.)

Thanks, all!

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  1. says

    I grew up going to school and eating pizza and milkshakes in the lunchroom cafeteria. It really is about time we changed the foods being offered to our children. As you mentioned over on the key issues page, today our kids can take ‘ala carte’ items which fall outside of any standard meal without any idea that it’s harming their bodies. Thanks for bringing this information to light and for being on top of this.

  2. says

    As we’re on the other side of things (school technology for school nutrition etc.), completely agree. However, I know many of the schools express concern with losing revenue from selling these competative food items vs. providing the best food for children.

    I can even remember “back in the day” when we had a “share” table in the lunchroom, and all that was ever on that table were fruits and veggies–everyone wanted to swap pudding snacks and candy bars. However, the sooner we get the junk out of schools, the sooner we can see a whole let less “dependency,”–I even remember some of my peers subsisting on a Drumstick icecream bar as their lunch.

    Nutri-Link Technologies


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