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The School Lunch Bureaucracy, Unraveled

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posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 03:24 PM

In her new book, "Free for All: Fixing School Food in America," Janet Poppendieck explains the politics behind cafeteria food. They're about as ugly as the food itself.

School lunch programs have always been less about compassion for needy children and more about accommodating political and commercial interests.

Why, for instance, have we developed three different ways to pay the lunch lady -- one for the poor students, one for the nearly poor, and one for those who supposedly drive BMWs to school? The logical answer might be because that’s fair; the rich kids should pay more and the government should subsidize the cost of feeding lower income children, as it currently does to the tune of $11 billion annually.

But as Poppendieck peels back the layers of the onion, we find the issue has always been less about compassion for needy children and more about accommodating political and commercial interests.

Harry Truman (school lunch is good for national security), Ronald Reagan (ketchup is a vegetable), nutritionists (it's nutrients that count, not the quality and taste of food), and various agricultural lobbies wanting to unload their farm surpluses are just a sampling of the agendas that have driven the school food agenda. Somewhere low on the totem pole, you’ll find concern for the health and well-being of boys and girls.

Poppendieck’s jargon-free narrative takes us step-by-step through the deals, concessions, and compromises that have bureaucratized the school food process while simultaneously dumbing down the food.

Why is so much processed food used to prepare school meals? Because taxpayers are spending billions to subsidize corn and soybeans, the prime ingredients in processed food, and because “cooking from scratch” kitchens have been removed from the schools. Why do we worry about price when talking about feeding our children?

Because the federal government (or anyone else for that matter) will not provide enough funding to enable schools to buy fresh, whole ingredients. Why do we have so many junk food items sold “a la carte” in our schools? Well, using a French culinary phrase to disguise what is otherwise crappy food, schools must sell these items to students with discretionary cash -- supposedly the ones driving the BMWs -- to compensate for the low reimbursements they receive for meals that meet mandated USDA health standards. And on it goes.

Continued at li nk.

Well I never really gave much attention to school lunch, I'll admit until I ran across this article and until I saw a few things about parents complaining that more kids eat lunch from vending machines instead of cafeteria's. Either way, to me it seems they're both horrible food. They're not fresh, full of only god knows what and ultimately lead to, well, all the damn problems we see filling the world where it relates to health.

Anyway, before I go off into a psychotic rant about preservatives, ingredients, hybrid foods, and such, I'll stop myself and let you decide for yourself. Go figure it is how it is...

[edit on 15-6-2010 by Crossfate]

posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 03:30 PM
shes not the only one concerned with what your kids are eating..

WEB FIRST: Are school lunches a national security threat?

and a comment i found interesting submitted by a reader:

" more frightening to me is the reminder of how much interist our military has in our children. and how they have set there sites on having a hand in the governance of our public school's affairs"

Thanks for the post S+F


posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 04:10 PM
I heard it was a myth that healthier, fresh-cooked cafeteria meals are more expensive than the ready-made, processed garbage that is currently being dumped on kids.

What was it, Fast Food America? There was a documentary somewhere that dealt specifically with this problem. A high school for kids with behavioral problems conducted a test. Because there was no added cost, the school board allowed it. I'm not sure how objectively it was measured, but according to the documentary there were benefits across the board. Better behavior, better grades, greater attendance, and overall a healthier&happier school.

[edit on 15-6-2010 by Son of Will]

posted on Jun, 15 2010 @ 04:36 PM
One of the causes of obesity in children is the school lunch program.

They removed sodas from schools but replaced them with high fructose corn syrup fruit drinks.

Sometime check the carb count of school lunches.

then any meats used are the highest fat meats the food companies can pawn off on the schools. this helps get the fat levels in the children even higher.

And the carbs are almost all fast carbs like white flour foods. pasta, rice products and other foods the body turns straight into sugar.

Then the kids of the poor go home and because the cheap foods you can buy that would let the food stamps there parents get last all month are the same garbage that the schools serve the kids get pumped full of fattening foods like this.

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