Other Voices

02/03/2012 08:38:00 AM
The Packer staff

Finally, good news about school lunches

The New York Times — by Mark Bittman, Jan. 31

Thirty-two million kids — 10% of the American population, and the future of the country — are about to start eating better. That’s the bottom line of the new Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines for government-subsidized school meals, announced last week. 

Of course, there are limitations: advocates for good food are correctly disappointed that the USDA ultimately let corporate interests deter the agency from pursuing an even more aggressively healthy set of rules. Following recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine, the USDA originally proposed limiting the amount of starchy vegetables in school meals — which up until now have been unlimited — to one cup per week.

Lobbyists for the potato industry made a fuss and the Senate stepped in to make sure that didn’t happen, and that concession is integrated into the new rules: Potatoes will still be unlimited. Similarly, you might remember that Congress and industry worked together to make sure that the tomato paste on pizza would continue to qualify it as a vegetable.

Why the cafeteria crusade is a crock

The New York Post — by Michael Walsh, Jan. 25

There’s nothing about rutabagas in the Constitution, but that isn’t stopping the Department of Agriculture from trying to shove them down your kids’ throats. Under new school-lunch standards unveiled by first lady Michelle Obama yesterday, public schools are now required to offer fruits and vegetables daily, along with more whole-grain foods, low-fat milk and lower sodium.


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