Healthy School Lunches Green - Our Daily Green

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Healthy School Lunches Green

(this article originally was published on the Examiner, Healthy school lunches and the child nutrition act)

One of the most challenging things a parent has to do is nourish their offspring. Encouraging them to eat their vegetables and clean their plate is a parental refrain for the ages. Then the children go to school and have an array of vending machine products, like soda, processed snack foods and candy to choose from. Sound familiar?
Cash strapped districts are reluctant to lose a profitable fundraiser. Annual income from contracts between schools and vendors varies, with some schools raising as much as $100,000 a year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures' Health Policy Tracking Service.
A legislative bill before Congress and the Senate has been sent to committees:
Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act of 2009 - Amends the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish science-based nutrition standards for foods served in schools other than foods served under the school lunch or breakfast programs.Applies such standards to all food sold outside such programs anywhere on school campuses during the school day, with the possible limited exemption of food sold at school fundraisers. 
Requires the Secretary to: (1) consider the recommendations of authoritative scientific organizations and evidence concerning the relationship between diet and health when establishing the standards; and (2) review the standards as soon as practicable after the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services publish a new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Currently, both the House and the Senate have sent the bills to committees. The past two sessions have seen those bills die. Concerned parents have an opportunity to make their voices heard as three local elected politicians sit on the committees that will determine the fate of the Child Nutrition Act.
In the Senate,  Ohio Senator  Sherrod Brown is a co-sponsor of the bill. In the House, two local representatives sit on the committee, Representative Marcia Fudge, 11th district  and Representative Dennis Kucinich, 10th district.  Contact them to share concerns and opinions about this important act.
For more info: The bill has been been referred to committee. Congress will next meet on September 8, 2009. To read the full bill and follow its status in the legislature, click here. For a complete list of committee members, click here.  The complimentary Senate bill has also been sent to committee.
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