Congress Says "Screw Your Child’s Health" Where School Lunch is Concerned

I have the option of preparing and sending my children to school with lunches I’ve carefully prepared. I know what’s in the bag and what’s going into their bodies. That gives me peace of mind on a daily basis.

That said, what about the parents who don’t have the resources or the time to do the same? The parent(s) who actually relies on the school lunch program in their district to provide their children with meals, fuel for their developing minds, are most of them going to have the same peace?

Take a look at this excerpt from an article published this morning in the Decatur Daily:

…The final version of a spending bill released late Monday would unravel school lunch standards the Agriculture Department proposed earlier this year. These include limiting the use of potatoes on the lunch line, putting new restrictions on sodium and boosting the use of whole grains. The legislation would block or delay all of those efforts.

The bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable, as it is now. USDA had wanted to only count a half-cup of tomato paste or more as a vegetable, and a serving of pizza has less than that.

…food companies that produce frozen pizzas for schools, the salt industry and potato growers requested the changes and lobbied Congress.

School meals that are subsidized by the federal government must include a certain amount of vegetables, and USDA’s proposal could have pushed pizza-makers and potato growers out of the school lunch business.

Piling on to the companies’ opposition, some conservatives argue the federal government shouldn’t tell children what to eat.

I’ve said it time and again, I don’t advocate the government telling us what to eat—Uncle Sam has no place in my kitchen—but when you’re funding an agency whose purpose is to be mindful of what is served to our nation’s children, children who are growing up at a time when childhood obesity rates are staggering, shouldn’t you do what you can to not add to the problem?

It seems to me that cutting back sodium content, limiting carbohydrates, and making the attempt to offer a healthier option would be a no-brainer in this case, but maybe I’m being too parental.

I don’t think that congress can be about the dollars and cents where certain matters are concerned. The cost to treat juvenile diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, etc. is far greater than the cost of removing potatoes and frozen pizza from the lunch line.

At some point, you have to stop trying to appease the corporate juggernauts and just do the right thing.

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