School lunch bill puts 2% milk on the lam

Categories: News

School lunch HD.jpg
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Mm . . . carbtastic.

In a surprising twist, the concern over childhood obesity does not lie in chicken nuggets, pizza poppers, or chocolate chip cookies baked just past raw. According to the government, the immediate culprit is that fatty, fatty 2% milk. We'd like to know what celebrity chef Rachael Ray has to say about that. Ray was recently in Washington to meet with our own Senator Amy Klobuchar regarding the school lunch bill. But while we learned that Ray loves Nye's (who doesn't?), we didn't get her take on the government's first step toward reforming school lunches--banning whole and 2% milk. We have a hard time believing kids are getting fat on 2% milk (or, gasp--whole!), unless they're washing down sleeves of Double Stuf Oreos with it. Jamie Oliver, another celebrity chef who's adopted the cause, seemed more aghast by the pounds of pepperoni pizza and breaded chicken patties kids mowed through on his reality show, Food Revolution.

According to this New York Times article, which offers a more comprehensive look at the bill, $4.5 billion will be added to child nutrition programs, including school lunch. While this is less than half of President Obama's proposed $10 billion increase in 10 years, the bill does include some historic changes, such as $40 million for farm-to-school programs and school gardens, $10 million toward pilot programs to add organic food, and millions more to train cafeteria workers. Hallelujah.

Still, the reform will be slow going. The saddest quote in the article came from Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest. After fighting to improve school nutrition standards for 17 years, she says, "This is the strongest child nutrition reauthorization bill I have ever seen. We can't go from candy bars to apples in one fell swoop." We know there's a lot more to it, but we have to wonder--why?



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