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Congress Favors Food Industry Over Kids

Congress Favors Food Industry Over Kids

Two weeks ago, Congress blocked a spending bill that would have at least partially funded positive changes to the school meal programs. Because they blocked the spending, the proposed changes cannot be implemented. Was the spending blocked because Congress is trying to save money? Partially. But according to all media accounts food industry lobbying seems to be the real reason that the spending bill was blocked. The potato industry didn’t like that potatoes would be limited to two servings per week so that other more nutrient dense vegetables could be served instead. The frozen pizza industry did not like that 4 Tablespoons of tomato paste (not sauce) would be necessary in order for a piece of pizza to count as a vegetable. Of course you can’t have 4 Tablespoons of tomato paste on a piece of pizza, but it’s still outrageous that pizza can count as a vegetable – and we are talking about pizza with no actual vegetables on it. Just a tiny amount of sauce (which can then have pepperoni, cheese, and lord knows what else dumped on top of that.) One of the proposed changes that would have been really great is a requirement to serve legumes at least once a week. Though they would have counted as a vegetable and not a protein, exposure to legumes would have contributed to children’s health and expanded their nutritional repertoire. Another proposed regulation – well-intentioned but not well thought out, was a requirement to offer more fruits and vegetables. We all know that kids need more, but they either don’t take, or throw away, the 1 cup that they are already offered. If we want children to eat more fruits and vegetables, they should be offered in the classroom as the federal Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program has already proven that it is a great way to get kids to eat more.

The New York Coalition for Healthy School Food works on all of these kinds of issues and more. In New York City, they develop and implement plant-based (yes, vegan) entrees in 17 schools. They do it in upstate also. In addition they develop great educational resources. This is an amazing group that accomplishes so much with so little.  We support them however we can and we hope you do too.

They have just been offered a $30,000 matching grant on any donations given by years end. If you donate now, your donation will be doubled.  You can donate at:

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via Amie Hamlin

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