As is often the case, sometimes there’s so much news out there that I have to share it all in one post! Here goes:
Michelle Obama Muddies the Waters
The latest campaign from Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, which encourages Americans to drink more water, is being met with howls by food policy critics. With her characteristic insight and concision, Marion Nestle explains why the Drink Up! campaign leaves much to be desired.
Chef Ann Cooper Defends Healthier School Meals
Last week, school food reformer Dana Woldow published an excellent take-d0wn of a widely circulated AP story that left most readers with the impression that the new healthier school meal standards are a big flop. Woldow’s post got a lot of traction, including a share by Mark Bittman of the New York Times, and it also led other writers and advocates to publicly defend the improved lunch program. One of those advocates is Chef Ann Cooper, aka The Renegade Lunch Lady. Please take a moment to read her U.S. News & World Report piece, which urges us all to take the long view when it comes to changing the eating habits of a generation of kids.
Boston Institutes Universal Free School Meals
I’m belatedly reporting that at the start of the school year, Boston Public Schools announced that it will be providing free breakfast and lunch to all of its students, regardless of income status. In doing so, Boston is taking advantage of the “community eligibility option” in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which allows schools with relatively high populations of socioeconomically disadvantaged students (40% or more) to do away with individual paperwork filings and simply provide free meals to all. (This option has been granted to a handful of states since the passage of the HHFKA, and will be open to all qualifying schools and districts in the next school year.)
Why Shaming Hungry Kids Is a Bad Idea
Quite a few of you shared with me this recent interview on Fox News in which a school counselor said it was fine to deprive students of their lunch to create a “teaching moment” for parents who had neglected to refill their lunch accounts. The interview was in response to a letter sent home by the Willingboro, NJ school district informing parents that children with empty lunch accounts would see their meals dumped in the trash. Today on BeyondChron, Dana Woldow discusses the Willingboro incident, the very real problem of unpaid lunch tabs and what schools should do about it.
NRDC Takes on Food Additives
Many parents are worried about the possible effects of certain food additives on their children, and they’re often surprised to learn that the FDA does not test and approve each of the literally thousands of additives in our food supply. Rather, a large percentage of these chemicals are allowed to be added to foods and beverages so long as manufacturers attest to the fact that they’re “generally recognized as safe,” or GRAS. (To learn more about this surprisingly lax system, I highly recommend Melanie Warner’s page-turner, Pandora’s Lunchbox. My recent interview with Warner is here.) Now the National Resources Defense Council is getting involved in a new campaign to strengthen FDA’s oversight. You can read more on Politico here.
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