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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Keep school lunches UNHEALTHY!

As a parent of two kids in public schools, I find this really interesting (and disturbing).

I mean, who could STAND AGAINST healthier lunches for our kids, especially when they (like us) are getting fatter and fatter (and thus sicker and sicker and deader and deader)?

Corporations of course. Food companies to be precise. And of course, Congress goes along (more evidence related to the material in the book about the power of elites to impact the law).

According to the CDC:
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.
  • In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
Ironically, the CDC points out the risk factors for childhood obesity, and at least two of them occur AT SCHOOLS!

This story from the New York Times thus makes me sick:

A slice of pizza still counts as a vegetable.

In a victory for the makers of frozen pizzas, tomato paste and French fries, Congress on Monday blocked rules proposed by the Agriculture Department that would have overhauled the nation’s school lunch program. 

The proposed changes — the first in 15 years to the $11 billion school lunch program — were meant to reduce childhood obesity by adding more fruits and green vegetables to lunch menus, Agriculture Department officials said.  

The rules, proposed last January, would have cut the amount of potatoes served and would have changed the way schools received credit for serving vegetables by continuing to count tomato paste on a slice of pizza only if more than a quarter-cup of it was used. The rules would have also halved the amount of sodium in school meals over the next 10 years. 

But late Monday, lawmakers drafting a House and Senate compromise for the agriculture spending bill blocked the department from using money to carry out any of the proposed rules. 

In a statement, the Agriculture Department expressed its disappointment with the decision.

“While it is unfortunate that some in Congress chose to bow to special interests, U.S.D.A. remains committed to practical, science-based standards for school meals that improve the health of our children,” the department said in the statement.

Food companies including ConAgra, Coca-Cola, Del Monte Foods and makers of frozen pizza like Schwan argued that the proposed rules would raise the cost of meals and require food that many children would throw away.

The companies called the Congressional response reasonable, adding that the Agriculture Department went too far in trying to improve nutrition in school lunches.

“This is an important step for the school districts, parents and taxpayers who would shoulder the burden of U.S.D.A.’s proposed $6.8 billion school meal regulation that will not increase the delivery of key nutrients,” said John Keeling, executive vice president and chief executive of the National Potato Council.

The Agriculture Department had estimated that the proposal would have cost about $6.8 billion over the next five years, adding about 14 cents a meal to the cost of a school lunch. 

Corey Henry, a spokesman for the American Frozen Food Institute, said the proposed rules simply did not make sense, especially when it came to pizza.

The industry backs the current rules which say that about a quarter-cup of tomato paste on a slice of pizza can count as a vegetable serving. The Agriculture Department proposal would have required that schools serve more tomato paste per piece of pizza to get a vegetable credit, an idea the industry thought would make pizza unappetizing.

The department said the change would have simply brought tomato paste in line with the way other fruit pastes and purees were credited in school meals.

Nutrition experts called the action by Congress a setback for improving the nutritional standards in school lunches and addressing childhood obesity.

“It’s a shame that Congress seems more interested in protecting industry than protecting children’s health,” said Margo G. Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit research group.


Even Rush Limbaugh got in on it. He mocked Michelle Obama for even taking on the issue of healthy eating, suggesting she herself is overweight (of course while also making racist comments and intentionally mispronouncing her name). Get that? Rush Limbaugh called Michelle Obama fat! Um, Rush, seriously?

This is the corporate view of a happy kid.

Are you gonna' eat that?

Chalk this up as another victory for the powerful. But it is our kids who will suffer.[]

1 comment:

  1. This is nothing new. Remember when the Gipper tried to call ketchup a vegetable? And why? To save money because the 1% won't pay their fair share. #OccupyTheCafeteria