School Lunch With A “Ride” of French Fries

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Okay, that pun was a little far-fetched, but so was last week’s House appropriation committee vote on school lunches. On Thursday, the GOP lead committee voted along party lines to add a rider to the Farm Bill which would make it possible for schools to opt out of higher nutritional standards for school lunches set by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) in 2010. Over 90% of schools have had success with the HHFKA, so who are the folks pushing back against these already well-established (and extremely well-researched) standards? None other than the School Nutrition Association who complains that kids don’t like the meals, and that they are too expensive. Helena Bottemiller Evich of Politico writes:

The group, which represents 55,000 school nutrition professionals and the food companies that supply the National School Lunch Program, has been flying in school meal directors and cafeteria workers from across the country to ask lawmakers to give schools some regulatory relief by “hitting the pause button” on the sweeping rules.

These food companies are clearly not considering the long terms costs of serving pizza and French fries to 9-year-olds on a daily basis. In a pre-emptive New York Times op-ed last Wednesday, eloquent First Lady Michelle Obama countered the eminent House vote, writing:

Our children deserve so much better than this. Even with the progress we have made, one in three children in this country is still overweight or obese. One in three is expected to develop [Type II] diabetes in his or her lifetime. And this isn’t just about our children’s health; it’s about the health of our economy as well. We already spend an estimated $190 billion a year treating obesity-related conditions. Just think about what those numbers will look like in a decade or two if we don’t start solving this problem now.

 Learn more about the rider in the Politico article and read the rest of the First Lady’s op-ed below

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