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 Obesity.net.
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.)
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