School Meals & Snacks

Massachusetts farmer makes farm-to-school movement a money-maker by buying from 30 other growers, lightly processing squashes and selling to UMass, public schools, others

By Michael Prager

The Boston Globe 2011-11-03

Opinion: Children's needs ignored as Senate protects potato farmers who complained over proposed anti-obesity rules limiting high-carb foods for school meals

By Valerie Strauss

The Washington Post 2011-10-20

Opinion: New school nutrition law meant to improve food, but final rules aren't due until December 2013, and House is looking to cut funding of extra 6 cents per meal

By Marion Nestle

San Francisco Chronicle 2011-09-04

Philadelphia School District closes kitchens at 26 elementary and middle schools to help bridge a $629 million budget gap, affecting 16,681 children, mostly in poorest areas

By Kristen A. Graham

The Philadelphia Inquirer 2011-06-30

Opinion: As Chicago school coffers drain, free Rice Krispies Cereal Bars, Crunchmania French Toast Flavored Graham Snacks, Danimals Crush Cups tempt home-fed students

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2011-06-16

Eager to be cutting edge, many private schools use lunchrooms to demonstrate health and eco-consciousness; food is made fresh and more of it is locally sourced

By Jenny Anderson

The New York Times 2011-05-05

Opinion: We need legal action, not voluntary guidelines that request compliance from a blame-the-victim industry that pushes ultra-processed, unhealthful junk food-like products

By Mark Bittman

The New York Times 2011-05-03

Opinion: Nutrition professor says she now supports soda ban for $68 billion SNAP program and is impressed with WIC, which allows purchase of only restricted number of nutrient-rich foods

By Marion Nestle

San Francisco Chronicle 2011-05-01

School lunch innovator Paul Boundas, restaurateur also trained in clinical psychology and culinary arts, finds all three essential in winning over his tough customers in public school

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2011-03-17

School food providers have come under scrutiny over the last year for big rebates from processed food companies; in D.C., Chartwells-Thompson made at last $1 million

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2011-04-21

Private companies help meet parent demand for nutritious and tasty school foods produced in a sustainable manner - and turn lunch program into profit center

By Annette Fuentes

The New York Times 2011-03-31

Opinion: Might not a government aware of links between poor diets, obesity and diabetes yet stubbornly beholden to beef, sugar lobbies be accused of obfuscation, corruption?

By Jocelyn C. Zuckerman

The Atlantic magazine 2011-02-25

Opinion: The students at Chicago Public Schools are right - in healthier lunches, they get cardboardy crusts, chalky macaroni salad, formaldehyde-scented lettuce, canned pears that taste like wet toilet paper

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2011-02-20

Farmers, school and health care representatives unite behind bill that would provide grants for farm to school and gardening programs and raise lunch funding to buy Oregon products

By Jennifer Colton

Hermiston Herald (OR) 2011-02-09

In study, children who ate school lunches were 29 percent more likely to be obese than those who brought lunch from home; soda consumption was also predictive of obesity

By Meredith Melnick

Time magazine 2011-02-07

Opinion: Food and everything surrounding it is a crucial matter of personal and public health, of national and global security; at stake is health of humans and that of earth

By Mark Bittman

The New York Times 2011-02-01

Enjoy food, but eat less; fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, switch to fat-free or low-fat milk, choose low-salt foods, drink water instead of sugary drinks, new USDA Dietary Guidelines say

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2011-01-31

2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to be released on Monday, Jan. 31 at 10 a.m. EST; to watch the live webcast, visit, and to read them, visit

By Marion Nestle 2011-01-27

Opinion: Extra 6 cents won't help school districts deliver better food for lunch; feds can't burden schools with making up the difference or allow them to wiggle out of restrictions

The editors

San Francisco Chronicle 2011-01-15

New school lunch rules would cut sodium, limit starchy vegetables, ban most trans fats, require lowfat milk, increase whole grains, add more fruits, vegetables, limit calories

By Tim Carman

The Washington Post 2010-01-13

New law letting USDA set standards for vending machine fare sold in schools could boost demand for healthy offerings, aiding small companies in that vending-machine niche

By Nick Leiber

Bloomberg Businessweek 2011-01-13

Author of "The China Study" found that 20 years of research changed his nutrition teaching from nutrient and animal-product based to one advocating whole, plant-based foods

By Tara Parker-Pope

The New York Times 2011-01-07

Teens' excessive sugar intake, preschoolers' exposure to second-hand smoke increases risk for heart disease later in life, making case for early prevention, two studies show

By Nicholas Bakalar

The New York Times 2011-01-10

Opinion: Obesity epidemic requires common sense - return P.E. to schools, offer better food in school cafeterias, end some subsidies, reward wellness in employer health plans, and eat more homemade dinners with our families

By David Gratzer, M.D.

The Washington Times 2011-01-07

Top nutritional scientists say cutting carbs is key to reversing obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension; amount of carbs in diet appears to be potent contributor to fat in blood

By Marni Jameson

Los Angeles Times 2010-12-20

New dietary guidelines, fights over funding of food safety bill, initial salvos over 2012 farm bill, school meals, and food firms co-opting critics predicted to make 2011 headlines

By Marion Nestle

San Francisco Chronicle 2011-01-02

Opinion: Future of food in America hinges on our ability to listen to what the earth and scientists and farmers are telling us and to practice moderation in consumption, agriculture

By Mario Batali

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-11-20

In California, some poor families choose between traditional public school with school lunches or charter versions, with smaller classes, more enrichment - but maybe no lunch

By Mary MacVean and Alexandra Zavis

Los Angeles Times 2011-01-01

Opinion: With annual cost of treating obesity, diet-related ills at $168 billion, adults are obliged to teach children how to live; Sarah Palin should make distinctions among policies worth opposing

The editors

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-12-27

Opinion: Obesity is not a Democratic or Republican issue; it is genuine public health emergency, with vast implications for nation's well-being, economy, national security

By Fred Hiatt

The Washington Post 2010-12-26

Opinion: Emerging cultural divide tearing at military; in 2008, 634 military personnel were discharged for "don't ask, don't tell" violations, 4,555 were discharged for obesity and overweight

By David Frum 2010-12-06

Territorial, bureaucratic atmosphere of Chicago public school meals program forces top chefs to scale back desires to make simple, real food, done well at reasonable prices

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2010-12-03

Affluence no safeguard against health issues surrounding fat, salt, sugar in school meals, says expert and author of "Free for All: Fixing School Food in America"

By Charles Stuart Platkin (Eugene, OR) 2010-12-16

Opinion: 22,000 a day signing up for SNAP in U.S.; this level of food stamp use could prove unsustainable in current economy, since some funding was taken for Child Nutrition Reauthorization

By Marion Nestle

The Atlantic 2010-12-15

With vow to eat school meal each day, blogging teacher brings attention to lunch reform and along the way realizes that "food is personal, food is life, food is health"

By Rebecca Dube 2010-12-16

Government has long been deeply involved in regulation of food and what we eat, policy experts say in response to right-wing voices critical of child nutrition bill, food safety bill

By Sherisse Pham

ABC News 2010-12-15

Diverting funds from food stamp program to child nutrition bill and to states looking to avoid teacher layoffs largely negates increase provided by 2009 economic stimulus plan

CNN 2010-12-02

Chicago Public Schools district and its meal purveyor block use of fruits, vegetables, herbs from school gardens for lunch trays; Chartwells says its farmers, suppliers are professionals

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2010-10-19

5 myths about hunger in U.S.: No one goes hungry in America, ending malnourishment is merely a humanitarian concern, children are only ones who go hungry, the food that America wastes could feed everybody, hunger is about food

By Robert Egger

The Washington Post 2010-11-21

As obesity epidemic grew, Cathleen Black, now NYC schools' chancellor in waiting, sat on Coke board and panel with focus on obesity and selling soda to children; she holds $3.3 million in company stock

By Michael Barbaro ad Anemona Hartocollis

The New York Times 2010-11-16

Opinion: Lame-duck Congress needs to approve child nutrition bill and House food safety bill that would significantly strengthen FDA ability to combat food-borne illnesses

The editors

The New York Times 2010-11-16

Kirsten Gillibrand retains NY Senate seat; as member of Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, she backs improving child nutrition, school lunches, food safety

Poughkeepsie Journal 2010-11-02

Concerns grow over food-stamp funding of child nutrition bill; expert predicts that cuts to SNAP would increase poverty and obesity as recipients buy cheaper, calorie-dense food

By Robert Pear

The New York Times 2010-09-23

Opinion: Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act is opportunity to use school lunch to address both hunger, obesity problems; we can find funding when it's a priority - and now is the time

By José Andrés

The Atlantic 2010-09-09

School meals have begun transformation, but all involved agree that turning this battleship requires commitment, money, will to make it happen

By Jane Dornbusch

The Boston Globe 2010-09-01

Cook for America instructors teach school cafeteria workers how to serve nugget-free, tasty, budget-minded foods - pork roasts, chicken, vegetables and casseroles

By Mary MacVean

Los Angeles Times 2010-08-26

Big food companies spend millions of dollars lobbying lawmakers on pending legislation regarding child nutrition, water, pesticides, food safety, recycling, BPA, immigration

By Laurel Curran

Food Safety News 2010-08-11

Lunch tray offerings at 100 Chicago schools in HealthierUS Schools Challenge pilot will include different fruit and vegetable every day, whole grains every day, juice once a week

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2010-08-17

Opinion: In Child Nutrition Bill before Congress, our country has major opportunity to make our schools and our children healthier, one too important to let pass by

By Michelle Obama

The Washington Post 2010-08-02

Opinion: Tories' attack on Jamie Oliver reflects values of conservatives, who embrace permissiveness in children's food, but not in matters of sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll

By Tom Laskawy

Grist 2010-07-02

Sodexo agrees to pay $20 million over claims that it pocketed rebates from big food firms rather than returning them to public school clients

By Eileen Buckley

WBFO-88.7 2010-07-21

Tony Geraci, Baltimore schools' innovative food service director who found national attention in Obama anti-obesity initiative, pares hours for family, consulting

By Erica L. Green

The Baltimore Sun 2010-07-06

Lack of availability and fragmented distribution network of small producers, farmers slows schools, hospitals looking to include local food sources

By Jay Field

National Public Radio/Morning Edition 2010-05-03

Russia's ban of chicken imports over chlorine wash used by US processors creates surplus of dark meat leg quarters; USDA buys some for school meals, food banks

By Roberta Rampton

Reuters 2010-06-15

Jamie Oliver fires back after health secretary says UK school food changes failed and that obesity is matter of personal responsibility

By Denis Campbell

The Guardian (UK) 2010-06-30

Lawmaker urges $8 billion more funding over 10 years for child nutrition programs, including school meals, farm-to-school programs, new standards for cafeteria workers

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2010-06-10

Review: "Lunch Line" an excellent primer on how school lunch came to be what it is - and should be required viewing for anyone seeking to change it

By Tracie McMillan

The Atlantic 2010-06-10

Despite challenges of poor funding and inadequate equipment, D.C.'s top chefs adopt schools to improve food served to children

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2010-06-04

USDA raises ground beef standards for school meals to that of fast-food eateries

By Elizabeth Weise

USA Today 2010-05-15

D.C. Council OKs "gold standard" for school meals, minus strict calorie standards below USDA minimum; soda tax might foot bill

By Tim Craig

The Washington Post 2010-05-05

Processed carbohydrates, not fat, more likely to cause diet-related disease, analysis of studies shows, but will Dietary Guidelines reflect new data?

By Melinda Wenner Moyer

Scientific American 2010-05-01

Opinion: Sugar lobby to blame for overly sweet school meals and snacks; children will eat healthier foods when served them

By Marion Nestle

San Francisco Chronicle 2010-05-02

DC council launching "gold standard" wellness regimen that limits sodium, fat, refined items in school meals, increases P.E. time; soda tax mulled

By Tim Craig

The Washington Post 2010-05-02

Revolution Foods finds growing business - and challenge - in offering fresh meals, not refined processed items, at school cafeteria prices

By Douglas McGray

Time magazine 2010-04-26

Citing obesity epidemic as emerging national security threat, retired military officers urge Congress to fund, support better school meals

By Mary Clare Jalonick

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2010-04-20

Jamie Oliver, exuding authority and unstoppable purpose on America, obesity and his "Food Revolution"

By Janice Turner

The Times (UK) 2010-04-10

Three-star restaurateur takes on world of D.C. public school food, a curious system of subsidies and standards that can take years to master, let alone manipulate

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2010-03-23

Opinion: Biggest bang for our taxpayer dollars is childhood obesity prevention; Let's Move starts process of making children's food healthier

By David Wallinga, M.D.

The Huffington Post 2010-04-09

Opinion: With child obesity growing three times faster than adult obesity, problem is nothing short of child abuse and it needs broad-based interventions

By Susan Dentzer

Health Affairs 2010-03-04

Blog: Denver schoolchildren, communities plant seeds of change in school cafeteria

By Rebecca Jones

InDenver 2010-03-18

Opinion: Child nutrition bill is health care issue because better school meals for millions of children is preventive medicine at its best

The editors

The New York Times 2010-04-04

Japan clings to whale fishing tradition though 95 percent of residents don't eat it; growing stockpile prompts reintroduction of whale meat into school lunch system

By Justin McCurry

GlobalPost 2010-04-08

Opinion: Michelle Obama, mother of young children, African-American from working-class family, is right person to deliver message of healthy fare

By Susan Reimer

The Baltimore Sun 2010-03-29

Opinion: Schools should allow students to take uneaten apples, oranges from their lunches for eating later

The editors

Chicago Tribune 2010-03-29

Angry coalition of high school students asks Chicago school board to provide better school meals

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2010-03-23

Students, unused to healthy fare served by Jamie Oliver in "Food Revolution," prefer pizza; principal returns sweetened, flavored milk to lunch line

By Vicki Smith

The Associated Press; MSNBC 2010-03-30

As Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution" shows, subject is political - from soda taxes to corn subsidies, it's about health care costs, environmentalism, education, agriculture, class, culture

By James Poniewozik

Time magazine 2010-04-05

Lawmakers move to fund school meal improvements by cutting anti-pollution programs rather than crop subsidies linked to obesity epidemic

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2010-03-25

Children who bring lunch from home less likely to be overweight, study shows

By Charlene Laino

WebMd News 2010-03-24

Chicago public schools revamp nutritional standards of meals to add dark green or orange vegetables, whole grains, generally meeting Institute of Medicine standards

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2010-03-23

With full kitchen, produce grant, edible garden, Philadelphia's High School of the Future leads effort for improved school meals

By Alfred Lubrano

The Philadelphia Inquirer 2010-03-17

American innovations in food, transportation, technology are global fat-making machine, at great cost to our health, nation's economy

By Claudia Kalb

Newsweek magazine 2010-03-14

New child nutrition bill would provide less than half of increase asked by administration, but would be first increase since 1973

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2010-03-17

New Jersey-financed school breakfasts among measures proposed in budget that relies almost exclusively on spending cuts

By David M. Halbfinger

The New York Times 2010-03-17

In France, children learn the rules before they can hold a knife: sit down, take your time, because food is serious business

By Vivienne Walt

Time magazine 2010-02-23

Opinion: As Congress weighs options for child nutrition, it must guarantee implementation of Institute of Medicine school food guidelines

By Ann Cooper

The Washington Post 2010-03-05

Blog: "Free for All" tells us how, if we could put ourselves in the little shoes of people smaller than us, we would do everything we could to make school meals better

By Mark Winne

Civil Eats 2010-02-12

NY education panel OKs student sales of Pop-Tarts, Doritos for fund-raisers but bans most bake sales

By Jennifer Medina

The New York Times 2010-02-26

"Blue Zones" project persuades town to make sidewalks, dig gardens, ban school snacking - and see health-care claims for city, school employees fall by 32 percent over 10 months

By Walter C. Willett and Anne Underwood

Newsweek magazine 2010-02-05

Citing health, environment, Chicago alderman proposes citywide ban on foam food containers in restaurants, school cafeterias

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2010-02-17

Opinion: Costs of upgrading school meals are minimal when compared with benefits and savings in long-term health care costs

By Bonnie Erbe

Scripps Howard News Service 2010-02-09

High-powered childhood obesity task force to review every program, policy relating to child nutrition, physical activity

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2010-02-09

With public-private coalition, First Lady aims to end childhood obesity in a generation

By Mimi Hall and Nanci Hellmich

USA Today 2010-02-09

Opinion: To reduce childhood obesity, fix Farm Bill, which determines what children eat at school meals and subsidizes main ingredients of junk food - corn, wheat, soy

By Karen Nelson

Tucson Citizen 2010-02-08

Opinion: Because obesity threatens national security, group of military retirees calls for extra funding to improve school meals, snacks, other nutrition programs

By Johnnie E. Wilson

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 2010-02-08

Despite health, environmental concerns, Chicago public schools create daily river of school meal waste that will sit for centuries in landfills

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2010-02-07

Administration wants to improve school meals by dumping junk food, raising enrollment in school meals, linking local farmers with cafeterias and improving parent and student nutrition education

By Henry C. Jackson

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2010-02-08

USDA announces new school meal safety measures, including tightening requirements on ground beef companies, more frequent testing, better communications within agency

By Blake Morrison and Peter Eisler

USA Today 2010-02-04

Analysis: For better school meals, ensure that reimbursements don't fund competitive foods; raise meal prices to equal reimbursement for free meals

By By Zoë Neuberger and Tina Fritz Namian

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities 2010-01-29

Survey: NY school lunches still full of processed foods despite Bloomberg's boasts

By Vinnie Rotondaro, Rob Sgobbo, Mariah Summers and Elizabeth Hays

Daily News (NY) 2010-02-01

New York public schools will provide ingredient lists of foods served in public school cafeterias by summer

By Elizabeth Hays

Daily News (NY) 2010-02-01

Budget would increase nutrition programs by $10 billion over 10 years while cutting equivalent amount in farm subsidies and crop insurance

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-02-01

After glimpse of 2011 budget, school food reformers plan to rally parents

By Kim Severson

The New York Times 2010-02-02

Analysis: Farm-to-school, garden pilot program included in Obama's new budget

Food Research and Action Center 2010-02-01

Opinion: Strengthening Child Nutrition Act will improve nation's fiscal health, national security

By Debra Eschmeyer

The Huffington Post 2010-01-27

Opinion: Cracking down on junk food that children use to supplement or replace school lunches is a no-brainer step in right direction

The editors

The Boston Globe 2010-01-28

Massachusetts lawmakers propose bill to improve school meals and creation of gubernatorial panel on childhood obesity

By Kyle Cheney

Statehouse News Service; The Dedham Transcript (MA) 2010-01-25

More federal action urged on growing hunger in U.S.; activist hopes public nutrition programs exempted from domestic spending freeze

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2010-01-26

Opinion: Congress should expand and improve quality of school meals program

The editors

San Jose Mercury News 2010-01-25

D.C. school lunch purveyor Chartwells questioned on quality, food safety

By Jeffrey Anderson

The Washington Times 2010-01-26

Recess before lunch means less food waste, more consumption of milk, fruit and vegetables - and fewer wiggles

By Tara Parker-Pope

The New York Times 2010-01-26

Higher food prices, recession, fresh school lunches add $1 billion to child nutrition costs, groups say

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2010-01-22

Lunch ladies at Revolution Foods meet demand for healthier food in school cafeterias

By Daniel Weintraub

The New York Times 2010-01-23

Bowing to parents' will, San Francisco schools switch from high-fructose corn syrup to sugar for chocolate milk

By Jill Tucker and Erin Allday

San Francisco Chronicle 2010-01-20

Only three percent of UK pupils' packed lunches meet school lunch standards, study shows

By Rebecca Smith

The Telegraph 2010-01-12

As quality of school lunches improves, pushing prices up, participation falls in UK, study shows

By Graeme Paton

The Telegraph (UK) 2010-01-04

Opinion: Ammonia-injected meat mess shows need for better communication, higher priorities than price, vigilance on food safety

The editors

The New York Times 2010-01-10

New Jersey moms create waste-free lunch kit for students

By Elizabeth Takacs

The New York Times 2010-01-04

Books: Simultaneously promoting obesity and hunger in school lunches

Books: Simultaneously promoting obesity and hunger in school lunches

By Michael O’Donnell

Washington Monthly 2010-01-07

Top 10 issues in 2010: Hunger, childhood obesity, food safety rules, food ads and labels, meat, sustainable agriculture, GM, chemicals, salt and Dietary Guidelines

By Marion Nestle

San Francisco Chronicle 2010-01-03

More than 31.2 million children receive free or reduced-price school lunches

By Barbara Barrett

McClatchy-Tribune News Service; Chicago Tribune 2010-01-06

Slow pace, bureacracy of school lunch reform frustrate parents

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2010-01-05

McDonald's, Burger King, Cargill defend products after report that ammonia-treated beef may harbor germs

By Christopher Leonard and Mae Anderson

The Associated Press; ABC 2010-01-01

Schism in USDA allowed sale of ammonia-treated ground beef after pathogen discovery

By Michael Moss

The New York Times 2009-12-31

School lunch system must require higher standards on foods, move faster on problems, experts say

By Elizabeth Weise and Peter Eisler

USA Today 2009-12-29

New bill would promote farm-to-school program, salad bars for school lunches

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2009-12-16

26,500 school cafeterias in U.S. don't get required inspections

By Peter Eisler and Blake Morrison

USA Today 2009-12-15

Child hunger interwoven in other problems of poverty

By Amy Goldstein

The Washington Post 2009-12-12

'Propaganda planting' spurs UK town of Todmorden to grow green, local

By Joanna Moorhead

The Independent (UK) 2009-11-29

Looking to rehab school lunch image, USDA sets tasting for Congress

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-12-11

School lunch safety series: Trouble on the trays

USA Today 2009-12-08

Fast-food meat standards above those for school lunch program

By Peter Eisler, Blake Morrison and Anthony DeBarros

USA Today 2009-12-08

Hospital funds expansion of chef's healthy food lessons

As Jamie Oliver wraps up filming 'Food Revolution,' a show that promotes healthy eating, hospital donates $80,000 to fund assessment and overhaul of menus of West Virginia county's 28 public schools. Hospital also donates $50,000 to keep chef's teaching kitchen open. And: Naked Chef isn't a diet cop; he's about scratch cooking, which means avoiding processed and fast food, learning pride of ownership, encouraging sparks of creativity and finding reasons to gather family and friends in one place (click 'See also').

By Veronica Nett

The Charleston Gazette (WV) 2009-11-21

See also 

Child hunger spikes upward as result of weak economy

In 2008, nearly 17 million children - more than one in five - were living in U.S. households in which food at times ran short, report shows. Number of children who sometimes were outright hungry rose from nearly 700,000 to almost 1.1 million. Among people of of all ages, nearly 15 percent last year did not consistently have adequate food; shortages worst among single mothers raising children alone. Feds' anti-hunger efforts include using $85 million to experiment with ways to get food to more children in summers, and next push is renewal of main law covering food, nutrition for children (click 'See also' to see Food Research and Action Center list of child nutrition bills).

By Amy Goldstein

The Washington Post 2009-11-16

See also 

Cafeteria layout, design, food placement guide pupils' choices

Replacing snacks with fresh fruit near cash register, offering children choice between two vegetables rather than simply requiring carrots, and accepting only cash for dessert changed buying patterns at school lunch, researchers learn. And: Items displayed prominently, at eye level, or first in line tend to be chosen more often than other items (click 'See also'). Compared with students with unrestricted food debit cards, those using cards that restricted choices to more healthful items ate significantly less added sugar, total fat, saturated fat, and caffeine and consumed fewer calories.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-11-06

See also 

Lawmaker questions school meals' safeguards against e.coli

Lawmaker wants Congress to see whether there are adequate protections from e.coli for school meals. He also asked investigators to compare safety, quality of ground beef available to schools with that available to restaurants, other commercial buyers. Probe earlier found that USDA didn't always make sure states and schools were notified promptly about recalled food distributed through the federal school lunch and breakfast programs, which serve 30 million students.

By Libby Quaid

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2009-11-09

Moving away from the vegetable-free 'kids' meal' model

Children's tastes have become more sophisticated, yet at most restaurants, kids' menus are the same, plus they're often high in fat, sodium, and sugar - with no vegetable. Then there's lack of shared experience, what eating is all about. Two most important predictors after innate sweets preference are exposure and role modeling, says expert. Then there's reinforcement of giving children the same menu items over and over, with toys, crayons, games, which forms foundation of what they come to expect when going out for meals.

By Devra First

The Boston Globe 2009-11-04

Pupils' free breakfast choices often sugary processed items

Nutrition experts warn that sugary processed foods Chicago Public Schools provides to children eating free breakfast make them sleepy and relaxed, and because such foods are digested quickly, children feel hungry well before lunchtime, making concentration difficult. Visits to schools show students pairing doughnuts with Frosted Flakes, syrupy French toast and juice. Health advocates say that's what happens when adults allow children as young as 5 to choose between oatmeal or Kellogg's Froot Loops. Chartwells-Thompson, city schools main caterer, defended brand promotion. And: Cut calories, add vegetables to school lunches, panel says (click 'See also')

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2009-11-05

See also 

Flu bill would grant 5 paid sick days to lunch ladies, waiters

In effort to slow spread of swine flu, new legislation would guarantee five paid sick days for workers with contagious illness who are sent home by their employers. School cafeteria workers, restaurant employees, others in contact with public and without paid sick leave (click 'See also') otherwise would go to work with H1N1 and spread virus, says bill's sponsor. 39 percent of private-sector workers do not receive paid sick days, while among the bottom 25 percent of wage earners, 63 percent do not. Bill would apply to businesses with 15 or more employees.

By Steven Greenhouse

The New York Times 2009-11-03

See also 

Seeking federally funded school lunches in Canada

Leading food thinkers want Canada to create national, federally funded school food program as centerpiece for national food policy, arguing that it could address children's soaring obesity rates, poverty, learning challenges that come with poor nutrition. School food, they say, can teach policy makers to harness power of food to improve health, environment, agriculture, local economies. Lunch program in Scotland, with local procurement strategy, delivers fresh, unprocessed ingredients for school meals, pumped $466,460 into struggling region, reduced carbon footprint of each school.

By Margaret Webb

The Star (Toronto) 2009-10-13

School meals may face more pork if USDA buys surplus

Feds undecided on whether to buy $50 million of pork to support industry; producers ask that it go for food assistance programs. And: Nation's schoolchildren are fed, in large part, by over-produced agricultural commodities that are promised a market by Farm Bill (click 'See also'). USDA buys hundreds of millions of pounds of excess beef, pork, milk and other meat and dairy products to bolster or normalize dropping prices, then dumps raw commodities into National School Lunch Program. Nearly half of U.S. children forecast to be overweight or obese by 2010.

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2009-10-22

See also 

Cut calories, add vegetables, whole grains to school lunches

Panel calls for calorie, sodium limits in USDA school lunch program, plus weekly amounts for dark green and orange vegetables, grains, and animal protein/dairy for each age group. Fruits, vegetables are not interchangeable, it said. It also calls for replacement of refined grains with whole grains, and for low-fat or skim milk. Recommendations reflect 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans; standards for school meals haven't been updated since 1995. Institute of Medicine panel says feds must increase reimbursement to fund changes.

By Mary MacVean

Los Angeles Times 2009-10-20

Opinion: Feds must fill safety gaps in beef, other food production

Eating a hamburger should not be a death-defying experience. Too often it is (click 'See also'). Ground beef is major part of American diet. Government needs to quickly fill safety gaps in food production. Congress, USDA should make it illegal to discourage additional testing for pathogens, must give USDA more authority to recall foods or to shut down plants that keep sending out contaminated products. Administration should nominate strong undersecretary for food safety. That vacancy leaves a huge gap.

The editors

The New York Times 2009-10-10

See also 

Slow recall alerts cited in students' salmonella-related ills

Some of the 226 students who got diarrhea and other salmonella-related symptoms after peanut product recall 'may have consumed the (tainted) products in school,' USDA school lunch recall audit shows. Recall notifications were delayed - sometimes more than a week, report says. Delay also cited on largest beef recall in U.S. history, which involved abuse of sick and injured cattle at California's Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. (click 'See also'). School meals program serves 30 million students.

By Peter Eisler and Blake Morrison

USA Today 2009-09-22

See also 

Lawmakers want pork bailout; dietitician says school children pay with their health

Lawmakers ask USDA to buy $100 million more pork - beyond the $30 million already announced - to protect industry from its economic troubles. Lawmakers say purchase could go for federal food assistance programs. And: Feds should be improving food served to children, not loading school meals with more pork and its saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, writes dietitian and nutrition director of activist group (click 'See also'). 'We've got to stop using school lunches as a dumping ground for high-fat meat products,' she says.

By Barbara Barrett

The News & Observer (NC) 2009-10-09

See also 

School lunch provider turns out low-budget fresh meals

School lunch provider turns out low-budget fresh meals

Though providing a tasty school meal can increase attendance, boost student focus and improve lifelong eating habits, federal deficit makes school lunch reform funding unlikely. But Revolution Foods turns out thousands of made-from-scratch meals that meet USDA standards for about $3 each (feds pay $2.68). Company shuns high-fructose corn syrup, serves only hormone- and antibiotic-free meat; it cuts deals with purveyors, offers payment plans for schools. Skeptic says that charter schools understand link between nutrition and education, but worries that taking on public school bureaucracies will be difficult. And: Businesses help close school meal funding gap (click 'See also').

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-09-30

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In some school cafeterias, chefs cook against all odds

Many advocates for better, healthier school food call for return to cooking real, fresh food, but barely half of New York's 1,385 school kitchens have enough cooking and fire-suppression equipment to allow it. Plus, staff isn't trained to do much more than steam frozen vegetables, dig ravioli out of a six-pound can or heat frozen chicken patties. In one school, parents declared victory when they persuaded cooks to boil water and cook pasta. One bonus is that children are happier at lunch, principal notes.

By Kim Severson

The New York Times 2009-09-30

Flawed safety system makes eating ground beef a gamble

Tens of thousands of people sickened annually by e. coli O157:H7, mostly through hamburger. Ground beef blamed for 16 outbreaks in last three years, including one from Cargill that left 22-year-old children's dance teacher paralyzed from waist down. Hamburger patty her mother grilled for her was mix of slaughterhouse trimmings plus scraps from Nebraska, Texas, Uruguay and from company that processes fatty trimmings and adds ammonia to kill bacteria. In weeks before teacher's patty was made, records show Cargill was violating its own ground beef handling procedures. Cargill, which supplies beef for school lunches, has revenue of $116.6 billion last year and is country's largest company.

By Michael Moss

The New York Times 2009-10-04

Jobless rate reaches 9.8 percent; at school, algebra suffers

More than 15 million people in U.S. now unemployed, and more are working part-time jobs for less pay, or have given up looking for work. New Jersey resident, a year after losing job, has $800 left in savings account, six more weeks of $379 unemployment checks. She's paring expenses - she tries to eat less. And: Teachers note that impoverished students are distracted from learning; 'It's hard to focus on algebra when you're hungry,' says advocate (click 'See also').

By Jack Healy

The New York Times 2009-10-02

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Linking local farmers to local schools, institutions

Linking local farmers to local schools, institutions

New website hopes to provide schools, restaurants, institutions one-stop shopping for fresh produce from many nearby farms at once. That means more local food on more plates - and expanded marketplace for farmers. Founders launched site (click 'See also') in San Francisco area last spring; owners plan to expand to seven other regions around country.

By Beth Hoffman

National Public Radio/Morning Edition 2009-09-28

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Compass Group to pay more for tomatoes; subsidiary's workers lose hours

Compass Group, which buys 10 million pounds of tomatoes annually and operates 10,000 cafeterias, agrees with Florida's Coalition of Immokalee Workers to buy winter tomatoes only from growers that pay fair wage, offer good working conditions. And: After Chartwells, a Compass Group subsidiary, takes over Connecticut school food service from Sodexho, some workers say their hours were curtailed; one says cutback made her ineligible for insurance (click 'See also'). Others say they lost paid sick leave, holiday leave, were transferred with little notice and had problems receiving paychecks.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-09-25

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EPA lacks oversight on safety of school water

In last 10 years, toxins found in drinking water of public and private schools in all 50 states, but problem has gone largely unmonitored by feds. EPA lacks authority to require testing for all schools; it does not specifically monitor incoming state data on school water quality. Tainting most apparent at schools with wells. Schools with unsafe water represent small percentage of nation's 132,500 schools; EPA says violations spiked because of stricter standards for arsenic, disinfectants, other toxins. And: It's time to ban arsenic from chicken feed (click 'See also').

By Garance Burke

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2009-09-25

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Some schools embrace buy-local movement but others left behind

Some schools embrace buy-local movement but others left behind


Click 'See also' for video of students pleading for better school food.

Buy-local trend, which has popularized farmers' markets, farm harvest subscriptions reaches some school lunch programs. Farm to school initiative started at a few schools in California, Florida, North Carolina in late 1990s; USDA says 2,000-plus such programs are active in about 40 states. Programs bring fresh produce into schools, gives local small-farm owners chance to break into new market, and lets students meet farmers who visit schools and explain their work. And: San Francisco students make video pleading for better school food (click 'See also').

By Jenna Johnson

The Washington Post 2009-09-24

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Opinion: Waiting for substance from USDA on sustainability

USDA's new farm-to-community initiative is mostly symbol. Backbone of program is a new website for agency's existing 20-odd local-food support programs, plus extra $50 million to get more local produce into school cafeterias, as well as relaxing of rules on shipping meat, poultry across state lines. But most programs were made law in 2008 Farm Bill, which will dole out $35 billion in subsidies to agribusinesses for corn, wheat, soybeans. Until that changes, this is just talk.

By Barry Estabrook of the Plate 2009-09-17

Soda tax gains traction as health care funding source

Prominent doctors, scientists, policy makers say soda tax could be powerful weapon in reducing obesity, as cigarette taxes help curb smoking. Tax of penny per ounce on soft drinks, energy drinks, sports beverages, many juices and iced teas would raise $14.9 billion in its first year. Soda research shows that for every 10 percent rise in price, consumption falls 8 to 10 percent. Expert says tax is justified in part because obesity, diabetes often treated with public funds through Medicaid, Medicare.

By William Neuman

The New York TImes 2009-09-16

School plans meal deliveries in case of flu-related closing

If H1N1/swine flu closes North Carolina city school system, workers will deliver lunches and snacks to children eligible for free and reduced-price lunches - nearly half of Asheville students. Child nutrition director hopes that planning for flu crisis will smooth way to summer meal delivery. And: Nationally, at least 18.5 million low-income students expected for school lunches, 8.5 million-plus expected for breakfast (click 'See also').

By Ashley Wilson

Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC) 2009-09-04

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School halts printing of student paper over lunch vendor report

California charter school halts printing of student paper that reports lunch vendor is Christian company whose mission is to 'serve God.' Company's religious stance is on its website (click 'See also'); principal says company's affiliation was part of reason for delay, but also, a school official had been misquoted.

By Scott Martindale

The Orange County Register 2009-09-11

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USDA requires 2 inspections yearly for school cafeterias

Schools participating in USDA National School Lunch Program, breakfast program now required to undergo two safety inspections each school year, rather than one. Schools are required to post most recent inspection report in visible location and to release copy of report to public upon request.

Federal Register 2009-09-02

Bill would require school meals to reflect Dietary Guidelines

Blanche Lincoln, new Agriculture Committee chair of Senate, introduces 'Healthy Food for Healthy Schools Act of 2009' that would ensure school foods reflect most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans (click 'See also'), and, 'to maximum extent practicable,' that school nutrition programs purchase widest variety of healthful foods that reflect those guidelines.

By Blanche Lincoln

The Library of Congress 2009-09-08

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Donor disclosure rule upheld for lobbying groups

Public has right to know names of donors to trade groups lobbying on bills before Congress, federal appeals panel rules. And: Congress due to update, reauthorize Child Nutrition Act, which includes $9.3 billion National School Lunch Program and sets school food policy (click 'See also').

By Bart Jansen

CQ Politics 2009-09-08

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Opinion: Feds subsidize causes, treatment of diet-related disease

By not addressing food system reform in health care reform, government is putting itself in position of subsidizing both the costs of treating Type 2 diabetes and consumption of high-fructose corn syrup. One of the leading products of American food industry has become patients for American health care industry. When terms like 'pre-existing conditions' vanish, relationship between health insurance industry and food industry will change. When health insurers can no longer evade costs of treating results of American diet, food system reform movement - farm policy, food marketing, school lunches - will gain powerful, wealthy ally.

By Michael Pollan

The New York TImes 2009-09-10

School meal reform 'birthright,' says chef; Congress may delay

Good nutrition is matter of social justice, says Ann Cooper, chef working to replace processed items with fresh fare on school meal trays. Parents should eat school meals to see what's served; cafeteria staff hired to heat-and-serve also must be trained to cook, and kitchens need cooking equipment. And: As Congress focuses on economic recovery, health care reform, food safety, climate change, reauthorization of Child Nutrition Act, which funds school meals, faces likely delay (click 'See also').

By Jennifer LaRue Huget

The Washington Post 2009-09-04

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Food safety lapses leave families bereft, lawmakers scrambling

Linda Rivera, once teachers' aide and always in motion, now in a mute state; 4-year-old girl partially paralyzed are among 80 people sickened by eating e.coli-tainted raw cookie dough, feds believe. As recalls cause public to lose confidence in food safety, lawmakers scramble; Nestlé resumes supplying chilled dough to supermarkets. And: Cargill slaughterhouse that just recalled 826,000 pounds of beef was slapped with animal handling citations last year after review of processors that supply USDA National School Lunch Program (click 'See also').

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-09-01

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Getting to the roots of 'food democracy'

Getting to the roots of 'food democracy'

September issue of magazine examines meaning behind 'food democracy.' Eating local is part of it, but more basically, it requires transformation of food industry, so workers, consumers can control what they produce and eat - and food is safe and nutritious. It also suggests fair access to crop land, fair return for farmers, laborers. It implies economic rules that encourage safeguarding soil, water, wildlife. Alice Waters (click 'See also'), other leading figures of food movement reflect on how food democracy can be achieved.

The Nation. 2009-09-01

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Nonprofit groups link local produce supply with local demand

New nonprofits that aggregate and deliver local produce are popping up across U.S., could be missing link between supply of and demand for products grown nearby. Farmers appreciate delivery consolidation, ease of building relationships with bigger buyers. Among customers are elementary schools, independent grocers, restaurants. In Charlottesville, VA, negotiations are under way to sell to University of Virginia dining services, run by Aramark.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-08-26

Window opens wide for school meals reform efforts

School food reform efforts, pushed by diet-related disease epidemic and nurtured by Obama administration, take root. USDA focusing on improving student health through better food, expected to upgrade nutrition standards this year. Agency also is studying farm-to-school, urban school food programs. NY senator's bill would ban trans fats, allow USDA to set tougher standards for a la carte items sold alongside subsidized school lunches. And: School lunch program, part of Child Nutrition Act that Congress takes up this fall, is focused path to food policy reform (click 'See also').

By Kim Severson

The New York Times 2009-08-19

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NJ schools get extra funds for signing poor children up for lunch

New Jersey public schools scramble to sign poor students up for free or reduced-price lunch; new funding formula matches lunch participation with eligibility for additional $5,000 per student in supplemental tutoring. Idea is that children who qualify for free meals have greater educational needs overall. And: In June, unemployment figures reached 14.3 percent in Newark and 18.4 percent in Trenton (click 'See also').

By Ashley Milne-Tyte

Marketplace 2009-08-18

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Rising joblessness means record crowds for school meals

At least 18.5 million low-income students expected for school lunches and 8.5 million-plus expected for breakfast. If rising family homelessness, steady growth in food stamp program are indications, however, enrollment in school meals could swell well beyond expectations. And: New York senator proposes expansion of free school meals to all children living under 185 percent of federal poverty line in certain high-cost areas, or $40,792 for a family of four (click 'See also').

By Tony Pugh

Sacramento Bee 2009-08-15

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Grocer, activist chef join forces for better school lunches

Grocer, activist chef join forces for better school lunches

Whole Foods Market joins Ann Cooper, chef, to improve school lunches. 'This is the social justice issue of our time, and schools have no money to help solve the problem,' says Renegade Lunch Lady. Co-president of upscale grocery store, chef plan to go to Washington to try to persuade lawmakers to improve the federal school meals programs in Child Nutrition Act, up for renewal this fall.

By Mary MacVean

Los Angeles Times 2009-08-13

Taking political responsibility for cutting obesity rates

Anyone who smoked in an elementary-school hallway today would be thrown out. But if you served an obesity-inducing, federally financed meal to kindergarten student, you would fit right in. Parents are working longer, and eating takeout; real price of fruits, vegetables has risen 40-plus percent in 30 years; soda prices have fallen 33 percent. Solutions to obesity epidemic involve civic - even political - responsibility. They depend on the kind of collective action that helped cut smoking rates nearly in half.

By David Leonhardt

The New York Times 2009-08-16

Better foods fuel students' attention, test scores at nonprofit school

Huge woks full of vitamin-fortified spicy eggplant, ground pork and vegetables pay off at Beijing school for children of migrant workers. Children show longer attention spans, higher marks on standardized test, helping transform what once was nutritional experiment into part of school's mission to educate previously ignored population. And: Analysis had shown that the middle-schoolers in Daxing were deficient in vitamins A and B, and also had iron-deficiency anemia (click 'See also').

By Anthony Kuhn

National Public Radio/Weekend Edition 2009-05-31

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Opinion: With Child Nutrition Act, Congress must keep children's well-being, not industry, in mind

With upcoming reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which regulates National School Lunch Program, Congress must reform policies that encourage children to eat unhealthy foods and that contribute to obesity epidemic, rising health-care costs. In 2007, the government allocated majority of child nutrition funds to meat, dairy, and eggs, only about 20 percent to fruits, vegetables. And: Primer on the bill, and how to get involved (click 'See also').

By Susan Levine

McClatchy-Tribune News Service; The Miami Herald 2009-08-02

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In scramble for funds, Illinois taxes candy, soda - with exceptions

In scramble for funds, Illinois demotes candy, soft drinks from tax-free food group. But lawmakers carved gaping exception - sweets containing flour (Twizzlers, Butterfinger Stixx) aren't legally deemed to be candy. Critic says tax logic is becoming increasingly inconsistent - in New York, Ovaltine gets sales-tax exemption but not Tang. Iowa officials were forced by public protests to rescind decision that exempted pumpkins sold for pies but not those sold for jack-o'-lanterns. And: Test your knowledge of what USDA considers junk food in schools (click 'See also').

By Ameet Sachdev and Bob Secter

Chicago Tribune 2009-08-02

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First Lady, staff focusing on children's food issues

Challenge for Michelle Obama and staff is to craft strategy that uses her clout to make how we eat an integral part of national health-care debate. In September, during Congressional debate over funding for child nutrition programs including school meals, staffers say First Lady will continue to link personal to political by gardening and by cooking - and by eating with her family and with students.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-07-15

Opinion: Changing the food system, one meal at a time

Solutions to myriad problems with industrial food system aren't simple, and they may mean paying more for what we eat. But that could mean costs savings for fewer cases of diabetes, other diet-related diseases. We have power, the film, 'Food, Inc.' points out: 'You can vote to change the system three times a day.'

By Nicholas D. Kristof

The New York Times 2009-06-20

Growing sensible eating habits, with fast food as treat

At White House garden, Michelle Obama casts campaign for homegrown food as sensible eating strategy. She says that fighting obesity requires improving access to fresh produce in low-income communities, offering more nutritious food at schools, and overhauling how American families eat. She linked healthful eating to two major legislative initiatives: reauthorization of child nutrition programs, which fund school breakfast and lunch programs, and health-care reform. And: Watch the speech (click 'See also').

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-06-17

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Review: Serving up a horror film for the dinner table

Review: Serving up a horror film for the dinner table

Food, Inc.

Needy family skips high-priced fruits, vegetables, choosing cheap fast food so dad can afford diabetes medicine.

"Food, Inc.," a mind-boggling, heart-rending, stomach-churning expose on food industry, makes case with methodical, relentless urgency of muckrakers trying to radicalize - or rouse - a dozing populace. And: Film shows we're living in a simulacrum, fed by machines run by larger machines with names like Monsanto, Perdue, Tyson that make everything (click 'See also'). We humans can win, but we should hurry, before Monsanto makes a time machine and sends back a Terminator to get rid of Eric Schlosser, Michael Pollan.

By Amy Biancolli

San Francisco Chronicle 2009-06-12

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Senator vows advocacy for application-free lunch program

Instead of shutting down Philadelphia's Universal Feeding program for impoverished schools, Pennsylvania senator urges Obama to extend it to all cities, also vows to include the application-free lunch program in child-nutrition bill reauthorization. If that doesn't work, veteran lawmaker vows to use his power on senate agriculture panel to expand program.

By Alfred Lubrano

The Philadelphia Inquirer 2009-05-28

USDA cries foul over city's child feeding program

USDA official complains that it 'isn't fair' that Philadelphia has only program allowing more than 120,000 students in poor schools to eat free meals without having to fill out paper applications, so agency plans to kill program. Tom Vilsack, now USDA head, had praised program as senator and recommended expanding it. New paperwork could cost district $800,000 yearly. And: Food stamp costs likely will rise by 14 percent in fiscal 2010 and could top $60 billion (click 'See also').

By Alfred Lubrano

The Philadelphia Inquirer 2009-05-24

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More need for school breakfast as cafeterias struggle

More children rely on schools for two meals daily as schools struggle to balance food budgets because of higher costs, decline in paying customers. Meanwhile, concern grows over nutrition needs of students after school and during summer. And: USDA supporting Bush administration edict to end well-regarded Philadelphia school breakfast and lunch program, source says (click 'See also').

By Michael Alison Chandler

The Washington Post 2009-05-23

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Obama wants double investment in global food security, feeding children

To aid global food security needs, Obama asks Congress to double financial support for agricultural development to $1 billion in 2010. Plan calls for providing U.S. food aid, capacity building, developmental assistance. He called for doubling funding to $200 million for USDA's McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which helps support education, child development, and food security for some of the world's poorest children (click 'See also').

USDA 2009-05-07

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Radical chef transforming Baltimore's school lunch program

Radical chef transforming Baltimore's school lunch program

Tony Geraci served 82,000 local peaches to Baltimore students on the first day of school last fall; for some children, it was their first taste of a fresh peach.

Tony Geraci runs Baltimore schools food service and campaigns for it, renovating old farm as incubator for gardens he wants at each of 200-plus schools, planning for student-run cafes with goal of involving students in food at every step. Students deserve to eat delicious, healthful meals; those meals help students learn, says chef and former chicken nuggets broker turned radical. About 74 percent of 83,000 students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. And: 'We've lost an entire generation of children to obesity and poor nutrition, and we're about to lose another one if we don't reach our hands into the fire and pull them back out and start doing the right thing,' he says (click 'See also').

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-05-06

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Opinion: Ban all junk food at schools

Despite progress in providing more healthful foods in schools through federal meals program, junk foods abound outside the program. New legislation to give USDA authority over all food sold at schools should be supported to help stem epidemic of childhood obesity, diet-related diseases. And: Take this quiz to see if you know junk food (click 'See also').

The editors

The New York TImes 2009-04-26

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In contest, lunch ladies trade sporks for saute pans

Lunch ladies in San Francisco Bay Area put serious cooking skills to test - with nary a nugget in sight. Competitors had two hours to plate a prize-winner; with 30 minutes left, they cinched up their hair nets and turned up the heat. 'Plenty of time,' one cook sneered, having spent a lifetime staring down hungry adolescents.

By Bruce Newman

San Jose Mercury News 2009-04-29

For Earth Day, a ban on high-emissions beef, cheese

For Earth Day, a ban on high-emissions beef, cheese

Steven Schultz/thefoodtimes

For Earth Day, one-day ban of meat, cheese in college, corporate cafeterias raises awareness about effect of food choices on environment. There's a growing movement to cut carbon emissions by cutting back on certain foods; significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions are created by food industry. And: Meat production alone accounts for 18 percent of global emissions, UN says (click 'See also').

By David Gorn

National Public Radio/All Things Considered 2009-04-22

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Soda lobbyist looks to block rules on school vending items

President of $110 billion-a-year beverage industry lobbies to block more rules on what schools can put in vending machines as Congress begins revision of Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act. And: Soda, sports drink intake linked to increased body weight, poor nutrition, displacement of more healthful beverages; added intake raises risk of obesity, diabetes - $79 billion spent annually for overweight and obesity alone (click 'See also').

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2009-04-11

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Opinion: Food marketing a slow-motion tragedy for our children

Obama and Congress should, with urgency second only to oncoming regulation of tobacco, enact emergency federal rules to ban trash-food marketing that is consuming our children. Federal nutrition programs are feeble whisper against trash food marketing; 44 top food/beverage companies in 2006 spent $1.6 billion in marketing mostly soda, fast food, and cereals to youths. Voluntary marketing limits are the wink of wolves.

By Derrick Z. Jackson

Boston Globe 2009-04-11

Opinion: Revamp school lunches to reflect diet-health link

As politicians debate bonuses and bailouts, surely we can agree that improving children's health is best investment for nation's future. Congress should ensure that USDA selects foods for school lunches based on current scientific evidence about role of diet in health. And: Federal nutrition programs are feeble whisper against howling scream of trash food marketing, writes columnist (click 'See also').

By Kathryn Strong

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine/The Miami Herald 2009-04-09

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Departing chef's famed school lunch program to continue

Departing chef's famed school lunch program to continue

As Ann Cooper, chef who brought fresh meals cooked from scratch - and national fame - to Berkeley schools, moves to Boulder, CO, program administrators lay plans to continue serving nutritious, delicious lunches - and to break even. And: District's contribution has diminished each year since 2006 (click 'See also').

By Doug Oakley

San Jose Mercury News 2009-04-02

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Health begins with good diets for families at home, nutritious school meals

For healthier America, help families follow healthy diets and feed children only nutritious foods in schools, says Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report. Other goals: Fully fund federal supplemental nutrition programs, and design them to meet needs with nutritious foods; create public-private partnerships to open grocery stores in urban, rural 'food deserts;' ensure early childhood education for all; give children K-12 half-hour recess.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2009-04-02

States urge schools to use stimulus for farm-to-school equipment

As interest grows in farm-to-school programs, Michigan, Wisconsin educators pounce on stimulus grants as chance to buy equipment to prep fresh fruits, vegetables. Both states will alert schools; Wisconsin will post list of types of equipment to consider, set up review panel that includes advocates experienced in farm-to-school programs and experts in fresh-food service equipment. And: Improving meal quality to meet dietary guidelines among goals of stimulus (click 'See aso').

By Diane Conners

Great Lakes Bulletin News Service 2009-03-19

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Activists seek food/agriculture policy reform - beyond Obama garden

As Americans flock to farmers' markets and buy local at Wal-Mart, sustainable-food activists, who see cheap, processed, subsidized food as profiting agribusiness, causing (and deferring costs of) diet-related disease, ruined environment, seek fundamental change. Chef/gardener Alice Waters urges tripling of budget for school lunches (with costs shared by Department of Education - click 'See also'); author Michael Pollan wants diversified, regional food networks. But he worries about movement's lack of infrastructure.

By Andrew Martin

The New York Times 2009-03-21

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Obama urges $1 billion more for child nutrition

Obama proposes $1 billion a year increase for child nutrition programs including school lunches. Plan includes better program access, better nutritional quality of school meals, expanding nutrition research, better oversight. About 32 million children eat lunch daily through National School Lunch Program; 8 million eat school breakfast. And: Nutrition bill up for renewal (click 'See also').

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2009-02-26

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Setting the table for learning at school lunch

Setting the table for learning at school lunch

Time, Inc.

School lunch is learning opportunity for students, says Arthur Agatston, cardiologist, researcher, South Beach Diet creator. Leisurely meals in positive atmosphere provide foundation for better learning. Children will eat healthier food if supported by curriculum, tastings, gardens. 'School is where you have the kids. School can be the most efficient way to spread good habits.'

By Tara Parker-Pope

The New York Times 2009-02-20

Opinion: Splitting the check for fresh school lunches

Opinion: Splitting the check for fresh school lunches


Click 'See also' for youtube video.

New, fresh school lunch program should funded by Department of Education, USDA. It would bring long-term savings, benefits to society in areas of hunger, children's health and dietary habits, food safety, environmental preservation and energy conservation. And: Lobbyists outnumber scientists at recent Institute of Medicine school lunch meeting (click 'See also').

By Alice Waters

The New York Times 2009-02-19

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Opinion: School lunch program gives agribusiness chokehold on children

Ties between feds and commodities industry, abetted by poor nutritional choices made by state and local food service officials, results in chicken nugget-pizza menus at school. With renewal of Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act, we must improve nutrition and quality of school food requirements; weaken school lunches-commodities markets link; and educate school officials, regulators and public. And: Primer on upcoming bill (click 'See also').

By Kathleen Rogers

San Francisco Chronicle 2009-01-30

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USDA school lunches again victim of food safety lapse

USDA bought 32 truckloads of roasted peanuts and peanut butter for its school lunch program as internal tests on product at Peanut Corporation of America showed salmonella taint. Scandal exposes an array of failures in government's systems. And: In early 2008, Hallmark/Westland beef recall was flashpoint in debate over meat safety and quality of USDA school lunches (click 'See also').

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-02-06

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UK pushes parents to pick produce for feeding children; businesses adapt

Parents in UK pressured by government to pack more fruits, vegetables in children's lunch boxes, and while they're not happy about it, new research shows it seems to be working. Food manufacturers, too, taking the hint, developing products to make effort easier.

By Sarah Hills 2009-01-28

Opinion: School lunch program is focused path to food policy reform

Opinion: School lunch program is focused path to food policy reform

Big Stock Photo

Sustainable food movement wants overhaul of nation's food system, but focus, call for specific action is way to real change. Best bet: Advocate for radical change with Congressional renewal of laws for school meals (click 'See also'). Currently, cash-strapped schools rely on government surplus, sales of soda, junk foods. Stricter nutrition standards, more funding for fresh food could change that, and both mesh with Obama's goal of ending childhood hunger.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-01-25

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First food, then school, says principal

In addition to counseling, tutoring, full stomachs now mandatory at school reeling from violent incidents. Students greeted daily by table of sandwiches, fruit, bagels or pizza and sometimes chocolate milk; extra food is saved for hungry children after gym or at lunch. Students are calmer, happier when they're not hungry, says new principal. And they know the school cares for them.

By Kristin Rushowy

The Star (Toronto) 2009-01-10

Diet-related disease again affects national security

After obesity flunks 47,447 aspiring soldiers in four years, Army recruiter lobbies for formal diet, fitness plan. Obesity is biggest challenge for potential military enlistees. And: During World War II, aspiring servicemen flunked, but for undernourishment, a national emergency that prompted 1946 National School Lunch Act, which guaranteed hot lunch for every schoolchild (click 'See also').

By Susanne M. Schafer

The Associated Press; Army Times 2009-01-13

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USDA nominee vows hunger fight, backing for fruits, vegetables

Fighting child hunger, promoting fresh fruits and vegetables for children, supporting those who supply produce, and facilitating purchase of locally grown products among goals listed by USDA nominee Tom Vilsack at Senate panel hearing. Tom Harkin, agriculture chairman, says USDA should use Institute of Medicine guidelines to set standards for junk food sold in schools.

By Aliya Sternstein

CQ Politics 2009-01-14

Analysis: Details crucial in healthful living campaign

Short on funds, New York governor turns call for change into anti-obesity measures: Soft drink tax, posting calorie counts in chain restaurants, adding markets to poor neighborhoods, banning junk food in schools. Professor says proposals take health care outside of medical sector and are way of cost-shifting that doesn't recognize obstacles - no sidewalks, time deprivation.

By Anemona Hartocollis

The New York Times 2009-01-11

Unpopular cheese sandwich policy shrinks school lunch debt

Relatives, activists outraged over Albuquerque decision to serve only cold cheese sandwiches to pupils with unpaid lunch bills. Unpaid bill is adult problem, and cheese sandwiches stigmatize hungry children, they say. School says it began year with $140,000 in lunch debt and in first five days of new plan, received $28,000 in payments.

KOAT Albuquerque 2009-01-09

Institutional peanut butter linked to salmonella cases

King Nut creamy peanut butter linked 30 cases of the 400 salmonella poisoning cases across 42 states. The peanut butter is sold in 5-pound containers to food service companies that supply schools, colleges, hospitals, nursing homes, other institutions. Minnesota's 'Team Diarrhea' helped in multitude of interviews that helped crack the case. And: Distributor plans peanut butter recall. (click 'See also').

By Josephine Marcotty

Star-Tribune (MN) (may require registration) 2009-01-10

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First-grader misses bus, takes car instead

Virginia six-year-old, motivated by school breakfast, gym class, drives his mother's car 10 miles toward school after he misses bus. First-grader, who passed cars on a two-lane road and may have been standing to drive before he hit a utility pole (he was unhurt), told sheriff he had trained on Grand Theft Auto, Monster Truck Jam video games. Parents charged with felony child endangerment.

By Tom Jackman

The Washington Post 2009-01-07

School's proximity to fast food linked to obesity among students

Students at schools within walking distance of fast food outlets more likely to be overweight and eat fewer fruits and vegetables, study of 500,000 California adolescents shows. Eateries serve as hangout and linked to greatly increased consumption of soft drinks. And: Sodas containing high-fructose corn syrup may contribute to development of diabetes, particularly in children (click 'See also').

By Julie Steenhuysen

Reuters 2008-12-24

See also 

Targeting nation's linked problems of hunger, obesity

Public health advocates, pointing to diet-related disease epidemic and record levels of food stamp use, look to skirt paternalism but to link food assistance, school meals to good nutrition. Program that doubles value of food stamps and fruit and vegetable vouchers of low-income mothers, seniors at farmers' markets in San Diego is instant hit - sales soared by more than 200 percent.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2008-12-24

Using school lunch tray to frame longterm health

Improving school meals, which provide more than half a student's food, nutrient intake during school day, could slow childhood obesity epidemic, says report for USDA. Students ages 5-18 eat 50 percent or less of vegetables recommended; those 9-18 eat 50 percent of fruit recommended. And: Limiting competitive foods in cafeterias to fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nonfat or low-fat milk, dairy products would aid effort (click 'See also').

By Christopher Doering

Reuters 2008-12-17

See also 

Analysis: Obama's USDA pick hails from top corn, hog, ethanol state

Analysis: Obama's USDA pick hails from top corn, hog, ethanol state


If Tom Vilsack confirmed as USDA secretary, Iowa (No. 1 in corn, hogs, ethanol) will have one of its own heading agency that dispenses federal crop subsidies, controls nearly two million acres of Iowa land, regulates state's many slaughterhouses. He's sympathetic to agribusiness giants, supports biofuels, agricultural biotechnology. And: Former governor will oversee $95 billion budget, with bulk going to nutrition - food stamps, school lunches (click 'See also').

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2008-12-16

See also 

Opinion: Reframe, reform USDA with secretary of food

Obama needs secretary of food, not USDA - to address health care, climate change, energy independence. 'Department of Food' would give primacy to America's 300 million eaters, cut influence of industrial farm lobby, which inflicts unhealthy food on children through school lunches and exacerbates crisis of obesity, diabetes. And: Petition lists terrific reformist candidates (click 'See also').

By Nicholas D. Kristof

The New York Times 2008-12-11

See also 

No-nugget school meal alternative expands to L.A.

Revolution Foods, created by two business school classmates to address 'huge, gaping unmet needs' in school nutrition options, expands beyond Bay Area to Los Angeles. USDA-reimbursable meals mostly go to charter schools, plus preschools, private schools. Founders' next mission: Bringing those meals to public school districts.

By Sara Stroud

The Mercury News (CA) 2008-11-26

Childhood food allergies up; schools unevenly prepared

Childhood food allergies, and severity, increasing. Researchers blame varied diet that exposes children to fish, peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs and soy; increasing rates of childhood obesity; increased consumption of antacids, vitamins; and possibly, underdeveloped immune systems as reaction to a too-clean environment. And: 'Action plans' for food-allergic students used inconsistently in schools (click 'See also').

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay News; U.S. News & World Report 2008-11-10

See also 

School lunch budget, by the numbers

In Long Island, government pays district $2.57 per free lunch, $2.17 per reduced-price lunch (which usually cost students 25 cents), and 24 cents per full-priced meal. New York pays 5.99 cents for free and full-priced meals, and 19.81 cents for reduced-price meals. School boards dictate meal prices; average price was $1.66. Beyond full-priced meals, major money maker is sale of 'a la carte' items - snacks, or meal alternatives.

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Newsday 2008-10-29

USDA's school lunch guidelines lag longer than K-12

With new school meal regulations forecast for 2010, nutritional standards lag about 15 years behind government's dietary guidelines (click 'See also'). Of USDA commodities, Long Island school lunch directors usually pick processed cheese, canned tomato sauce, beef and chicken products and potatoes but wish for more fruits, vegetables.

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Newsday 2008-10-29

See also 

Thinking outside the school lunch tray

Long Island school district wins award for using USDA ingredients in innovative school lunch dishes: feta-cheddar salad, tomato bisque, soft tortillas stuffed with chopped turkey, mozzarella, garlic, celery and carrots. District's board increased lunch prices from $1.60 to $2 last year, and to $2.50 this year to facilitate better food.

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Newsday 2008-10-29

Diet turns middle-aged problem youthful

Kidney stones a growing problem in children. Main causes are dietary - not drinking enough water, eating too much salt - and sometimes relate to obesity. Physicians cite salty chips, French fries, sports drinks and processed items - sandwich meats, canned soups, packaged meals, sodas. And: As makers of children's cereals cut sugar, they add salt, report says (click 'See also').

By Laurie Tarkan

The New York Times 2008-10-27

See also 

Opinion: Changing food culture begins by teaching children to eat well

We must commit to 'edible education,' by making lunch a mandatory part of curriculum. We need to teach all primary-school students basics of growing, cooking food and then enjoying it at shared meals. That means planting gardens in every primary school, building fully equipped kitchens, training lunchroom ladies who can once again cook, and teach cooking. We should immediately increase school-lunch spending per pupil by $1 a day to underwrite shift to real food freshly prepared.

By Michael Pollan

The New York Times 2008-10-12

Opinion: Fuel crops with sunshine, not oil, to solve nation's big problems

To progress on health care crisis, energy independence and climate change, new president must wean food system from fossil fuel and return it to diet of sunshine. Next, new policy must strive for healthful diet for all; improve reliance, safety and security of food supply; promote regional food economies; and reframe agriculture as part of solution to environmental problems.

By Michael Pollan

The New York Times 2008-10-12

Repeated taste tests nudge students into eating more produce

Children eat more fresh fruits and vegetables if schools give them a nudge with repeated exposure through taste-testing, study shows. Successful methods: teacher training with a tested curriculum and parent events; teacher's use of curriculum without parents; and cooperative extension educator teaching in classrooms.

By David Ottalini

University of Maryland 2008-09-08

Better school lunch nutrition lifts math scores

Adding whole grains, fruits and vegetables to elementary school lunches raised academic performance of students over two years and lowered their weight and blood pressure, cardiologist reports. Healthier Options for Public Schoolchildren program (click 'See also') also promotes good nutrition through edible school gardens, assemblies, class activities and with adults as role models.

By Adam Voiland

U.S. News & World Report 2008-10-07

See also 

Routine cafeteria inspections unlikely, despite law

Many school cafeterias in New York state aren't routinely inspected for food safety because of short-staffed health departments, disparity between federal, local laws. Skewing records: Some schools have no kitchen; some inspections aren't recorded. One in five public school cafeterias in Monroe County failed to meet health standards in last two years.

By David Andreatta

Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY) 2008-09-14

Negotiating restitution for lunchroom losses

After school lunch program comes up short by $418,876, veteran bookkeeper negotiates guilty plea, 18-month jail sentence and restitution. New Hampshire school will install new computer, in part, to aid in monitoring cash flow.

By Meg Heckman

Concord Monitor 2008-09-16

Closing gap between school meals, Dietary Guidelines

Study shows nutritional lack in school meals, plus districts' mostly meat, cheese choices in commodities use. Researchers urge: Quick match of school meal nutrition standards with government's Dietary Guidelines; more frequent reviews of more schools; financial incentives for fresh produce choices; infrastructure grants for produce preparation. And: Dietary Guidelines for Americans (click 'See also').

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2008-09-12

See also 

Past nuggets and noodles, and a child's clamped mouth

Raising good little eaters begins with serving variety of foods. Six strategies: Involve them in cooking, encourage a taste of new foods but remain neutral in face of refusal, stock only healthful foods and give children free access, teach good dietary habits by your own balanced diet, dress up the vegetables, and serve a new food 15 times before concluding the child won't eat it.

By Tara Parker-Pope

The New York Times 2008-09-14

Gift of local and organic to Maine college

Bates College graduate donates $2.5 million to expand alma mater's use of organic, local foods, sparking yearlong initiative on sustainable food. Instead of 22 percent, college will now spend 28 percent of its yearly food budget on such foods. President says donation acknowledges financial cost of doing the right nutritional and ethical thing.

By Peter Schworm

The Boston Globe 2008-09-07

College cafes go tray-free and students grumble - but eat less

In race to be green, colleges try eco-friendly no-tray policy and students with big appetites find heaping helping of complaints. Multiple plates are cumbersome to carry, extra trips for seconds are disruptive, and it takes longer to clear the table. Another school replaces disposable foam trays for plastic containers that can be returned dirty, or replaced for $5.

By Jodi S. Cohen

Chicago Tribune 2008-09-06

Avoiding the gross-out factor when packing lunch box

Considering child's all-day diet helps parents find balance between nutrition nirvana and what will actually be eaten from school lunch box. 'It has to be something they will like, something their friends at the lunch table won't gross out on,' says author. Suggestions: pizza with vegetable toppings, PB&J on oatmeal bread, fruit and yogurt, pasta with vegetables and cheese.

By Betsy Block

National Public Radio/Kitchen Window 2008-09-03

More poor pupils, less for them in school budget

Skyrocketing food, fuel prices coupled with home foreclosures push more children into homelessness, poverty and qualify them for subsidized school lunches as states cut school budgets and schools raise lunch prices. Estimates show an additional 283,000 students will be eligible for free lunches this year, in addition to last year's 14.9 million students.

By Sam Dillon

The New York Times 2008-09-01

Local produce lures more learners to school lunch

Local produce lures more learners to school lunch

Karla Cook/thefoodtimes

At least 18 states recently have passed laws encouraging schools to use local produce.

Linking local farm produce to school lunches, while more expensive and more work, pays off in better food that more students eat, food service directors say. In turn, better food leads more children to sign up for school lunches, which offsets costs. And school purchases nurture regional agricultural economies.

By Anne Marie Chaker

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2008-08-28

From farms to schools to Democratic National Convention

Program linking public schools with 12 Colorado farms will be on display at Democratic National Convention as example of how to cut climate change. Farm to school effort supplies grass-fed ground beef, plus products including milled flour, micro-greens, vegetables and fruit.

By Dale Rodebaugh

The Durango Herald 2008-08-21

See also 

Point, shoot and eat

Pennsylvania school district buys $30,000 scanning system to identify lunch customers by photographed fingers. Officials say new identification system minimizes stigma associated with reduced-price and free lunches and reduce money-handling, though cash still will be accepted. And: Technology isn't the same as finger-printing (click 'See also').

By Sam Galski

Republican Herald (PA) 2008-08-17

See also 

Video added to school cafeterias to cut shoplifting

Reporting $1.2 million in prepared food thefts, Virginia school district installs video cameras in cafeterias. Pocketing cookies, eating French fries before reaching the cashier are common, says official. Some parents skeptical about amount lost, citing inaccurate record keeping with their children's accounts; former student says most common theft is using another's account number for purchases.

By Michael Alison Chandler

The Washington Post 2008-08-04

Food costs push school lunch to 'point of crisis'

As 75 percent of school districts prepare to raise lunch prices to offset rising costs of milk, bread, vegetables, nutrition directors worry that students won't have money to eat and that cafeterias will return to serving cheaper processed fare. Congress asked to to increase assistance and to make meals free for all students.

By James Vaznis

The Boston Globe 2008-07-16

Balancing act for students cuts food waste, energy use

Trayless dining, which cuts food waste up to 50 percent and reduces water, energy use, catches on at universities.Then, there's pleasing the students: 79% of the 92,000 students surveyed this spring said they supported move. And: In Maine, colleges also compost, and buy in bulk (click 'See also').

By Bruce Horovitz

USA Today 2008-07-23

See also 

Taste-testing with 'customers,' not students

New L.A. school chef, looking to please parent groups, the school board and students with food that is healthful, fast and cheap, starts with taste. 'What I'm here to do is to take the culinary and the hospitality world and the nutrition world and merge them. If I can't eat it, I can't serve it.' Among ideas: students' family recipes, dim sum, classroom room service.

By Mary MacVean

Los Angeles Times 2008-06-22

Mighty appetite leaves school pantry bare

Elephant breaks into elementary school pantry in India, and in 45 minutes, consumes enough rice, lentils, potatoes and salt to feed students for a month. Animal also broke 250 eggs. About 250 children attend the school, mainly on the promise of a good meal.

The Telegraph (Calcutta, India) 2008-07-13

Loophole may hide true levels of e.coli in slaughterhouses

Loophole allows meat companies to move e.coli-contaminated meat found during processing into the 'cook only' category without telling USDA. Some inspectors say practice conceals higher levels of bacteria in packing plants than the companies admit. School lunch program bought 2.8 million pounds of cooked beef in 2006.

By Stephen J. Hedges

Chicago Tribune; The Seattle Times 2007-11-11

School lunch costs heading up

School lunch prices for paying students headed up, say 75 percent of nutrition directors surveyed; 62 percent consider job cuts. Extra dime from USDA for each school lunch leaves schools 20 cents short, lunch lady tells Congress. Milk is up 19 percent, bread is up 17 percent, fruits and vegetables are up 13 percent and meat is up 11 percent. Click 'See also' for webcast.

By Greg Toppo

USA Today 2008-07-09

See also 

Food environment declines in secondary school

Food, food policy quality suffer as children go from elementary to secondary schools, with vending machines, snack bars, beverage company contracts and 'a la carte' options replacing more healthful options. Study examined food environments in 395 schools in 38 states.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2008-07-07

In France, school lunches of mussels and squash au gratin

French chef shops for ingredients, then prepares lunch for about 800 students using no-waste practices - for $3 per student, per day. Such programs have helped France curb childhood obesity rates, studies show. Investing in students' well-being is act of citizenship, and will cost country's health care system less in future, chef says.

By Eleanor Beardsley

National Public Radio 2008-07-02

Lunch rules stir debate, education board finds

Debate over elementary-, middle-school lunch/snack restrictions halts vote for Illinois education board. The rules aim to curb obesity and encourage good choices; critics say that school districts should be in charge of such decisions.

By Adriana Colindres

GateHouse News Service; Journal Star (Ill.) 2008-06-19

To cut costs, schools cut out house-baked breads

After operating three years in the red, Washington state school district outsources baking of bread and pizzas and eliminates nine baking positions to cut food costs. As hours drop, employees are required to pay more for health benefits.

By Isolde Raftery

The Columbian (WA) 2008-06-16

School lunch and civics lessons

After four months of research and lessons on civic engagement, elementary students persuade principal to change school lunch policy that left them only 10 minutes to eat and no time to visit. As part of federally funded effort, children also met with lunchroom staff and classmates and presented their findings to crowd of teachers and parents.

By Linda Borg

The Providence-Journal (RI) 2008-05-27

Childhood obesity plateaus, but can it be reversed?

Awareness, targeted actions could be creating plateau in rates of childhood obesity, but researchers can't be sure. Real question is whether 25-year obesity trend can be reversed, says researcher. 'The rates of obesity in children are so hugely high that without any further increases, the impact of this epidemic will be felt with increasing severity for many years to come.'

By Tara Parker-Pope

The New York Times 2008-05-27

Cutting costs for school lunches

To cut costs, school lunch ladies buy in bulk, make their own salad dressings, nix packaged desserts in favor of seasonal fruits, reduce some portion sizes, consider increasing prices for lunch and 'a la carte' items and consider decreasing labor. Schools with more free or reduced lunch students fare better; they get 23 cents toward each paid lunch, $2.07 for each reduced lunch and $2.47 for each free lunch.

By Desiree Hunter

The Associated Press 2008-05-23

Processed food firms retool approach to children

Motivated by bad publicity, tougher regulation and costly lawsuits, food companies reduce child-targeted ads for their packaged and processed products and reduce serving sizes for products. Milk sales doubled after McDonald's repackaged milk into brightly decorated plastic jugs. Many schools remain prime settings for introducing their products to children.

By Susan Levine and Lori Aratani

The Washington Post 2008-05-22

Tempting children with lunch box treats

To pack a power lunch for kids, start with real ingredients and whole grains, and don't skimp on presentation, says Chicago chef, restaurateur and cookbook author. She sends her son the makings of pizza (he has use of a microwave at school), adds wheat berries to any salad, and turns a sandwich into a kebab on toothpicks.

By Bonnie S. Benwick

The Washington Post 2008-05-21

Undermining better lunch efforts

Schools' newly healthful meals thwarted by parents who send oversized bags of chips in lunch boxes, fight bans on cupcakes and object to measuring students' body mass index. And schools undercut their efforts by selling fries, doughnuts and other 'a la carte' items and allowing vending machines. For series, Young Lives at Risk: Our Overweight Children, click 'See also.'

By Lori Aratani

The Washington Post 2008-05-21

See also 

Sugar back in flavored milks

High-fructose corn syrup off the ingredients list for dairy that supplies milk - plain and flavored - to about 100 school districts throughout Southern California. Syrup will be replaced by Hawaiian cane sugar and will reduce grams of sugar from 25 to 20.

By Josh Dulaney

Daily Bulletin (CA) 2008-05-09

Linking farms to schools

Cooperative of farmers, ranchers, with $88,000 USDA grant, aims to reduce obstacles of getting local products onto school lunch trays. Co-op will act as order/collection/distribution center for up to 60 growers. Growers will be the sole shareholders; if project succeeds, it could be used as model. One ranch already sells kiwis at a loss because kids' response so encouraging; will join in hopes of turning a profit.

By Natalie Ragus

The Lompoc Record 2008-04-30

See also 

School lunch costs

School lunch program, an already low-budget effort of mostly processed foods, struggles anew with increases in dairy and refined carbohydrate prices and relies on USDA's surplus meat and cheese. Reformers want Congress to provide more than $2.47 per lunch, and to make produce as cheap and easy to buy as tater tots.

By Greg Toppo

USA Today 2007-05-01

Producing the produce

Producing the produce

Peter Haley/The News Tribune

Washington state's grants are modeled on a USDA program that provides produce and nutrition lessons to poor schools, including Pioneer Elementary, in Auburn.

Success of $570,000 in new grants that require Washington-grown produce for schools will hinge on distribution, price and devotion. In Olympia, parents led 2002 effort for local produce; food service director made commitment to farmers, and now all 18 schools participate.

By Susan Gordon

The News Tribune (WA) 2008-04-28

Free breakfasts too expensive

Budget cuts doom program to provide free morning meals to Florida children attending schools where many students come from low-income households. The universal breakfast plan could have cost the state an estimated $9 million to $11 million annually.

By Dwayne Robinson

The Palm Beach Post 2008-04-23

More qualify for school lunch assistance

Applications for free and reduced-price lunch increase as income drops. In Kansas City area, one in six now qualify, up from one in 10 eight years ago, with every school district showing increase in enrollment. To participate, a family's income must be below the poverty level or at about $37,000 for a family of four.

By Jennifer Bhargava

The Kansas City Star 2008-04-15

Cutting school lunch costs

As prices for cattle, grain and dairy go up, New Jersey school food service director anticipates budget pinch in fall. Meanwhile, he finds better prices on fresh, not packaged foods, and eliminates packaged snacks in favor of more commodities: chicken nuggets, cheese and beans. State's new maximum prices for lunch: $2.75 in elementary school, $3 in middle school and $3.25 in high school.

By Diane D'Amico

The Press (NJ) 2008-04-21

Farming for local school lunches

Maryland legislators embrace farm-to-school bill that will provide nutritious fare, boost local farmers and trim fuel costs for long-distance shipping. 'I've seen kids get excited about beets and turnips and radishes because they pulled it out of the ground,' says coordinator. 'But if you hand a kid a beet and say, 'Eat this, it's good for you,' they say, 'Eww'.'

By Kristen Wyatt

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2008-04-21

Adding fruits, vegetables

South Dakota expands participation in USDA's school lunch fruit and vegetable program. The program, awarded by grant, offers priority to schools with 50 percent or more students receiving free or reduced-price meals.

By Megan Myers

Argus Leader (SD) 2008-04-02

Lunch lady salaries

Citing love for their jobs, Alabama town's school lunch ladies repeat request for pay that, at minimum, meets 'basic needs' but superintendent says budget doesn't allow a raise. The workers prepare food and clean cafeterias during the school year but are paid over 12 months. Pay begins at between $8.77 and $11.77 per hour and is determined by the average number of meals served per hour.

By Steve Campbell

The Huntsville Times 2008-04-18

Parental push on school food

Iowa parents push for more healthful fare for children's school lunch trays. They want more organic and local foods, fewer processed meats and fewer processed sweets. Food service director calls for 'reality check,' and predicts $4 or $5 lunches. But Washington state district chose to drop desserts and pay for organics with the savings.

By Erin Jordan

The Des Moines Register 2008-04-18

Lunch boycott expands

Wisconsin middle schoolers' lunch boycott extends to third week and expands to lower grades. Lunches served drop from 250 to less than 50; principal warns children of financial impact. Children's complaints include inadequate quantities prepared, poorly cooked food, poor quality of food, portion sizes and food appearance.

By Dorothy Jasperson

Westby Times (WI) 2008-04-16

See also 

Economy-minded lunch trays

Ever-rising prices of milk and grain-based products push schools into budget-mindedness - picking orange segments over grapes, for instance - and price hikes. A North Carolina district restores Yoo-hoo (36-cent profit on each sale) and full-fat cookies to menu (click 'See also). USDA reimburses $2.47 per free meal, up from $2.40 last year. In same time, milk prices went up 17 percent, bread nearly 12 percent.

By Maria Glod

The Washington Post 2008-04-14

See also 

Self-supporting lunches

Chef's old-fashioned, made-from-scratch cooking - salmon in panko crumbs, leek and potato soup, local fruits and vegetables - has made a Boston-area school lunch program self-supporting. In 10 years, sales have increased from $131,000 to $565,000 in the 1,300-student school system.

By Cindy Cantrell

The Boston Globe 2008-04-13

See also 

Lunch tray triumph

School battles students' disappointment and moans when they hire from-scratch food company that buys from local farmers and switches menus with the seasons, but the food won them over. It's important, says 10th-grader, to distinguish between junk food and food that's closer to home-cooked meals. 'It feels better to put healthy food into my system.'

By Emilie Doolittle

The Mercury News (CA) 2008-04-10

See also 

School lunch bill stalls

South Carolina legislature kills bill that would have banned soft drinks, high-fat foods and minimally nutritious snacks from school lunches and campus vending machines. Sticking point was money: Some schools make as much as $70,000 annually from vending machine sales; refreshment stand fare sold at five home games made another school $13,000.

By Gina Smith

The State (SC) 2008-04-09

Looking at lunch

Looking at lunch

To change school lunches, reformers must build coalition that links child nutrition to agriculture, food policy, and social welfare, says Susan Levine, author on new book that explores National School Lunch Program. The endurance of this social welfare program, she says, hints at central role of food policy in shaping American health, welfare and equality.

Newswise 2008-04-08

See also 

Fruit salad fundraisers

Elementary school students became obese at half the rate of other children when intensive nutrition education program was implemented, Philadelphia study shows. Researchers replaced sodas with fruit juice, changed cafeteria fare, scaled back snacks, awarded raffle tickets for wise food choices and spent hours teaching kids, their parents and teachers about good nutrition - successfully subbing fruit salad for the typical bake sale.

By Stephanie Nano

The Associated Press; The Inquirer (PA) 2008-04-07

See also 

Test scores and school lunch substitute

Eating 'a la carte' items rather than school lunch decreased students' performance on standardized test in Michigan. Researcher blames less nutritious choices provided by food service contractors. Study also shows that once contracting fees were added, privatizing school lunches saved little or no money.

By Bernie DeGroat

University of Michigan 2008-03-20

Linking farms to lunch trays

With Tennessee children ranking fourth-highest in obesity rates, legislature contemplates farm-to-school bill that would reduce red tape for local purchasing. 'All it takes is a child nutrition director and a farmer,' says advocate. But some school nutrition directors are reluctant. 'We're very satisfied with the program we have now,' says one school official of the mostly 'pre-prepared' lunches.

By Jennifer Justus

The Tennessean 2008-03-31

See also 

Opinion: Inspection time

Twice yearly school cafeteria inspections are required of those participating in USDA National School Lunch Program, but only 16 percent of the schools in Contra Costa have received them. It's time for county health officials to take responsibility for putting those safeguards into place, and work with schools to determine who pays.

The editors

Contra Costa Times (CA) 2008-04-01

Brain food

Enhanced learning is benefit to good diet in childhood, study finds. In test of 5,000 fifth-graders in Nova Scotia, students with an increased fruit and vegetable intake and lower fat intake were less likely to fail a standardized test. Findings back broader implementation and investment in effective school nutrition programs, authors say.

By Lorraine Heller

Food Navigator 2008-03-26

Geography of lunch

Chicken from Georgia, breadsticks from the Midwest, and hamburger from all over? Far-flung school lunch supply chain draws scrutiny after nation's largest beef recall and heightens interest in feeding Oregon's children food grown closer to home. Award-winning chef hired by state to link local farm fare to schools, though state doesn't fund school lunches.

By Maya Blackmun

The Oregonian 2008-03-29

See also 

Against the chain

School lunch ladies, parents' group in Massachusetts oppose takeover of lunches by Aramark, Whitsons, or Chartwells, saying it will cut jobs and lower food quality and service for Money loss problems began, they say, when officials replaced snack bar with vending machines. Parents' group cits Cambridge schools for its use of grants and farm-to-school programs.

By Amanda McGregor

The Salem News (MA) 2008-03-24

See also 

Tainted beef list

Under pressure, USDA releases list of all school districts (click 'See also') that received tainted beef from nation's largest recall. Inclusion of district doesn't mean that all schools received the meat over two-year recall. Lawmaker promises legislation to force USDA to release list of retail stores that received recalled beef, too.

The Associated Press; The New York Times 2008-03-28

See also 

Paying the cost of school lunch

With many foods for school lunches gathered and shipped from around the country, rising fuel prices are pushing school lunch prices up, nutrition directors warn. Then there are the food prices: flour prices, for example, have tripled in a year. In cost-cutting measure, schools consider using frozen fruits and vegetables in place of fresh produce.

By Stacie N. Galang

The Salem News (MA) 2008-03-24

Corn syrup connection

Junk food ban at California school creates lucrative black market in Skittles, Snickers and Twinkies, with contraband in back packs, wads of cash stuffed in pockets and class disrupted to make a sale.

By Rachel Byrd

Victorville Daily Press (CA) 2008-03-20

See also 

Linking farms to schools

National Farm-to-School Program has grown to 2,000 programs in 39 states as farmers, educators and parents see benefits, though logistics can be onerous. Food service director contacts farmers regularly, teachers integrate foods into curriculum, students tend edible gardens and taste-test. Food on lunch trays underscores the message.

By G. Jeffrey MacDonald

USA Today 2008-03-24

See also 

Suggesting better school food

Idaho politicians urge higher standards for foods, drinks sold in schools and in vending machines on campus, and want schools to report on their progress. The House resolution takes aim at childhood obesity, diabetes and higher health care costs. Critic complains of meddling and predicts a day when strangers invade home kitchens, 'telling you what to feed your kid.'

The Associated Press; Idaho Statesman 2008-03-10

See also 

Meeting eating standards

Under threat of losing lunch funding and reimbursements, Massachusetts school district adds three supervisors to lead upgrades in quality and nutritional value of foods, menu planning and meal presentation, cleanliness of cafeterias, worker productivity and tracking customers of free and reduced-price lunches.

By Will Richmond

GateHouse News Service; The Herald-News (MA) 2008-03-16

Farm-to-school that works?

USDA seeks information on successes in farm-to-school initiatives, as well as barriers or difficulties to such programs for report it owes Congress. Director cites cooperative purchasing, local foods advocates and nutrition education as components of success; distribution and transportation as inhibitors.

By Cynthia A. Long

USDA Food and Nutrition Service 2008-03-07

Price of a recall

Tennessee school district waits for reimbursement after replacing recalled beef distributed through the USDA National School Lunch Program to feed children. Meanwhile, its school board adds $502,500 to child nutrition budget to cover hike in food costs and increased enrollment.

By John I. Carney

Times-Gazette (TN) 2008-03-15

From haute cuisine to hot line

Once pastry chef at Virginia's Inn at Little Washington, Jenna Ortner looks at school lunches and finds a calling. Now a 'lunch lady,' she serves locally grown produce to an even pickier clientele. Students were prepped by teacher who explained that food is fuel, and how fortunate they are to have a real chef; orders for the $3 fresh lunches are brisk.

By Lisa Leff

The Associated Press; USA Today 2008-03-09

'Downer' cows killed, Congress learns

Sick cows were killed illegally at Hallmark/Westland slaughterhouse, company executive tells Congress after he views the Humane Society video that filmed workers forcing 'downer' cows onto their feet for killing. Video led to nation's largest meat recall. A portion was sent to schools as part of the USDA's National School Lunch Program.

By Erica Werner

The Associated Press; The Herald (CA) 2008-03-12

Making local school lunches easier

Washington state passes 'Local Farms - Healthy Kids' bill, reducing obstacles for schools to buy locally grown food and supporting farmers at the same time. The law also will provide technical assistance for new programs.

Washington State Legislature 2008-03-11

See also 

Lunchtime accounting

Children shouldn't have to pay the price for adults who don't pay for them to eat lunch at school, and schools' solution of feeding those children 'snack' lunches stigmatizes them. Better outreach is needed to enroll those who qualify for federally subsidized program. Strategies also are needed to help those who barely miss the mark, and to solve the $1.5 million deficit created by non-payments over the last four years at North Carolina district.

The editors

The Charlotte Observer (NC) 2008-03-10

Opinion: It's not the tainted meat, it's the meat

Problems with meat don't stem from one slaughterhouse, but beef recall is chance to re-think school lunch. The USDA buys millions of pounds of surplus beef, pork, chicken and other high-fat meat products to distribute to schools, and not enough fruits, vegetables and other plant-based foods. Report predicts that by 2010, nearly half our children will be overweight or obese. As diet-related disease takes hold, they run risk of being the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

By Roberta S. Gray, M.D.

The Sun (CA) 2008-02-26

School lunch safety questions

Delays on tainted beef recall updates kept school lunch workers in the dark for days, and has led to questions on whether the federal government's alert system is adequate to keep unsafe food off cafeteria lines. In Texas, one school district waited 12 days for complete recall information.

By Greg Toppo

USA Today 2008-03-04

Paying more for school lunch

Paying more for school lunch

WFMY News 2

After food suppliers hit North Carolina school district with price hikes for bread and other products in January and February, district raises prices of school lunch by 25 cents.

By Cami Marshall

WFMY News 2 (NC) 2008-03-05

Where's tainted beef, USDA wonders

USDA can't say how many schools are affected by Hallmark/Westland beef recall and can't account for about 10 percent of total. More than half of suspect meat became meatballs, patties and other items, or was mixed with other products and classified by type, not manufacturer. Recall, which has affected 45 states and D.C. schools, adds to perception that school meals are inferior, lunch lady says. Meanwhile, parents worry.

By Jane Zhang

The Wall Street Journal (may require subscription) 2008-03-05

History of school lunch problems

Contradicting USDA's assurances that Hallmark/Westland recall was 'isolated incident,' documents show problems with food safety in children's school lunches since at least 2003. School-lunch administrators and inspectors cited for weak food-safety standards, poor safeguards against e.coli and salmonella, and choosing vendors with food-safety violations (Hallmark/Westland has string of citations going back at least 10 years).

By Elizabeth Williamson

The Wall Street Journal 2008-03-03

Opinion: How now?

Opinion: How now?

Mark Fiore, an animated editorial cartoonist, links juicy burgers with industrial agriculture, slaughterhouse safety, school lunches and fast-food outlets in 'Doreen the Downer.'

Mark Fiore; The Ethicurean 2008-02-21

Opinion: Strengthen 'farm to school'

Congress must resist the USDA's undermining of the farm-to-school program. This local food initiative helps children develop eating habits that defend against diet-related disease. It supports all farmers, not just those who grow fruits and vegetables. The farm/food bill panel needs to respond to communities and schools with innovation in food purchasing programs 'to the maximum extent possible.'

By Senator Ginny Lyons

The Times Argus (VT) 2008-03-02

Feeding hungry children

Hillary Clinton says her administration would create a food safety net and give poor children 'greater access to healthy, fresh food.' She would launch effort to get junk food out of schools, and require schools to offer only food that meets or exceeds USDA standards. She would sign up more people for food stamps and expand benefits. The program would be paid for by toughening tax enforcement.

By Mike Glover

The Associated Press; The Guardian (UK) 2008-02-28

Full plate for school lunch lobbying

School lunch ladies (and men) gather to discuss lobbying goals, including funding for nutrition, requiring all foods sold at school to meet dietary guidelines, uniformity of nutrient standards, and giving USDA authority to regulate and enforce food and drink sales outside cafeteria. School lunch reimbursement is $2.47, less than a latte, says spokesperson.

By Erik Peterson

School Nutrition Association 2008-02-28

No lunch, if it's free

Some students go hungry rather than face shame of separate lines for subsidized lunches. Two-tier system is mostly caused by USDA prohibition against selling food of minimal nutritional value in same place as subsidized meals. 'A la carte" items - pizza, turkey sandwiches, Caesar salad wraps, cookies - are sold, separately, to paying students. The National School Lunch Act prohibits segregating, 'or any overt identification of any child.'

By Carol Pogash

The New York Times 2008-03-01

Tracking recalled beef in NJ

Nearly 160 New Jersey school districts and some individual schools are listed as recipients of suspect beef from the USDA school lunch program. Products included taco meat, cooked beef patties, frozen steaks, meatballs and beef barbecue nuggets and were shipped from two Pennsylvania companies and one in Ohio. Schools given until March 12 to submit verification of destruction, either on-site, or at landfill or incinerator.

State of New Jersey Department of Agriculture 2008-02-25

See also 

Opinion: School lunch served

Opinion: School lunch served

Tony Auth/The Philadelphia Inquirer

Tony Auth, editorial cartoonist at The Philadelphia Inquirer, on the Hallmark/Westland beef recall and school lunches.


Bye-bye, beef patties

Concerned about childhood diabetes and obesity, California school district weans itself from USDA's frozen beef patties and plastic-wrapped cheese. It now makes lunch from scratch every day for all children who want it in the 9,000-student district. District has supplemented its federal lunch funds with $1 million from its annual $100 million budget.

By Victoria Kim and Janet Wilson

Los Angeles Times 2008-02-24

See also 

Tracking bulk beef

USDA's bulk buys of ground beef and other meats from lowest bidders leave school lunch directors with no choice but to trust. But in a 1996 study on E. coli, researchers found that a single lot of beef at a large-scale commercial meat packer came from up to 11 sources in four states; in another case, meat possibly tied to a large, 1993 E. coli outbreak came from up to 443 animals from six states through five slaughterhouses.

By Victoria Kim and Janet Wilson

Los Angeles Times 2008-02-24

Business-busting recall

Financial troubles likely to permanently close slaughterhouse caught in sick cow abuse video that triggered nation's largest beef recall. Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing, one of 10 companies that supply beef for school lunches, received $39 million from USDA in the last fiscal year as part of the program. Sick, or 'downer' cows may not be eaten because of link to mad cow disease, a fatal illness that takes up to 30 years to appear in humans.

By David Kesmodel

The Wall Street Journal (may require subscription) 2008-02-23

Dueling snacks

On-campus stores that sold snacks and other goods at six New Jersey high schools close after Sodexho, school lunch provider, told district they were operating during lunch hours - a violation of 'no compete' law. District also cites NJ Model School Nutrition Policy. Sodexho provides lunch in 72 school districts in state; stores were operated by parent-teacher-student organizations.

By Keith Ruscitti

Asbury Park Press 2008-01-30

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Sodexho hikes school lunch prices

Soaring food and fuel prices hit Sodexho-administered school lunch program in Florida. Parents told to expect price hike in both hot lunches, currently $1.50 to $1.75, and a la carte items for the 2008-09 school year. Sodexho's distributor, U.S. Foodservice, is estimating a 10 to 12 percent hike in overall food costs. USDA historically has increased reimbursement by 4 percent a year.

By Anne Spencer

Jackson County Floridan 2008-02-19

Local school lunches?

Parents look to stop Massachusetts school from soliciting proposals from outside school lunch providers. They cite concern over diminished food quality and an appreciation for 'lunch ladies' who care. Lunch program has run a deficit for years and has spent $125,000 more than it has taken in this year.

By Amanda McGregor

The Salem News (MA) 2008-02-21

Destroying suspect beef

California advises schools to destroy some suspect beef after recall; state education office will refund cost. National School Lunch Program participants can pay as little as 10 cents per pound of USDA subsidized beef, with outside beef suppliers charging about $2 per pound. Some schools drop beef and buy chicken, turkey and cheese, hoping for reimbursement.

By Fermin Leal and Scott Martindale

The Orange County Register 2008-02-19

Bad meat for school lunches

Hallmark/Westland Meat Company recalls 143,383,823 pounds of raw and frozen beef delivered to National School Lunch Program, Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Food Assistance Program on Indian Reservations. Recall spans two-year period and was spurred by Humane Society video that showed slaughterhouse workers abusing sick cows.

USDA 2008-02-17

Pre-slaughter cruelty

Manager at slaughterhouse that supplied school lunch program faces felony charges of cruelty to animals after video shows torture of ailing cows. 'Downer' cows are prohibited from human food chain since failure to stand can be symptom of mad cow disease; schools nationwide pulled beef from lunch menus. USDA has launched investigation, but some members of Congress call for school food safety probe as well.

By Victoria Kim

Los Angeles Times 2008-02-15

Outsourcing lunch?

Delicious, nutritious school lunches and stemming money loss are reasons for switching from in-house program to lunch contractor, Washington, D.C., school chancellor says. One reason existing program lost $30 million in three years is because students won't buy bad-tasting food; another is that the District hasn't filed for federal reimbursement on free and reduced-price meals.

By V. Dion Haynes

The Washington Post 2008-02-15

School lunch safety

Citing video showing workers abusing sick cows at slaughterhouse that supplied school lunch program, lawmakers question whether government can protect students from dangerous foods. They call for independent investigation, saying that USDA has repeatedly failed to deliver timely information about food safety issues to schools and to parents.

By Victoria Kim

Los Angeles Times 2008-02-14

Dietary horizons

Energetic dietitian takes on fruit-vegetable scarcity at Los Angeles public schools. She works with principals on logistics of crowded cafeterias and short lunchtimes; she introduces new foods through classroom cooking, math and science lessons so foods aren't unfamiliar when they appear at lunch. She's installed 60 salad bars - but who's counting?

By Patti Neighmond

National Public Radio 2008-02-14

Farming connections

Farming connections

Maryland considers farm-to-school program that includes a home-grown school lunch week, local farm trips and student-farmer interactions. Bill would require state to create database of farmers who want to sell produce to schools.

By Anne Wozniak 2008-02-12

See also 

Local considerations

New Mexico legislation would help fund farm-to-school link and put more fresh, local foods on children's lunch trays; facilitate food distribution system for low-income and rural communities; and help fund farmers' market purchases by low-income seniors.

By Staci Matlock

The New Mexican 2008-01-31

Beef off the trays

Schools scramble to find suspect beef destined for children's lunches after video caught workers torturing ailing cows to force them onto their feet for slaughter. Downer cows - those too weak to walk - are prohibited from human food chain; slaughterhouse supplied USDA's school lunch program.

By Victoria Kim

Los Angeles Times 2008-02-03

Budget rules

With 85 cents budgeted for each lunch at Oregon schools and dicey logistics of perishable fresh foods, cheap high-fat ground beef and chicken parts often star. Nationally, beef makes up 40 percent of the federal commodity purchases for school lunches, more than purchase of fruits and vegetables combined. Outdated federal rules require high calorie count, which favors processed products over fruits and vegetables, nutritionists say.

By Scott Learn and Betsy Hammond

The Oregonian 2008-02-03

Downed cows for school lunch?

Supplier of meat to USDA National School Lunch Program suspended indefinitely after video shows Westland Meat Company workers repeatedly kicking possibly ailing cows and ramming them with forklift blades. Downed cows are prohibited from the human food chain; member of Congress threatens hearing on using school lunch program as dumping ground.

By Brian Hartman

ABC News 2008-01-30

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Opinion/Blog: Origin of a film

Opinion/Blog: Origin of a film

For documentary film maker, 'Two Angry Moms' grew from her interest in sustainability, food politics and integrative nutrition, as well as her marriage to French man and his family's obsession with food, the couple's launching of the first certified organic poultry operation on the East Coast and working with Chef Ann Cooper, Renegade Lunch Lady.

By Amy Kalafa

The Huffington Post 2008-01-04

See also 

Lunches, bunched

At less than half the dining room size mandated for its enrollment, cafeteria crunch for 915 middle-schoolers leaves some students eating too early, others eating too late and most if not all eating too quickly, administrators say as they lobby for $34.3 million construction project for their Arkansas school district.

By John Anderson

The Baxter Bulletin (AR) 2008-01-24

Vending lunches

In bid to keep students on campus for lunch and reduce afternoon absences that sometimes follow, Colorado high school installs full-meal vending machine and engineers text-messaging system for ordering restaurant meals for delivery by student volunteers.

By Vanessa Miller

Daily Camera (CO) 2008-01-22

Tater tot revolt

After complaints to school board result in no action, Baltimore area middle-school students draw up Cafeteria Bill of Rights, demanding fresh fruits and vegetables at district's 57 schools that serve "pre-plate" food. Committee also asks that each school have its own cafeteria and kitchen staff. But officials face $50 million in cuts.

By Sara Neufeld

The Baltimore Sun 2008-01-19

Road to wellville

On road to better school lunches, grant helps Mississippi school districts buy fruit and vegetable slicers, and funds combi-ovens as alternative to fryers. Already, schools have eliminated sugary snacks and drinks. Next up: minimum PE time and wellness plans

By Rebecca Helmes

The Clarion-Ledger (MS) 2008-01-15

Check, please

Parents owe school districts about $60,000 for school lunches in three South Carolina counties. Officials hope that new computer system that accepts advance payments will solve cash-flow problem and reduce need to send notes home, withhold report cards or use collection agency.

By Octavia Mitchell

WCBD-TV (SC) 2008-01-09

Foie gras to French toast sticks

Alarmed at his children's school lunches, nationally acclaimed chef leaves glamor behind to make public school lunches nutritious and delicious in Minnesota. Now he is drawing a bead on tater tots, winning pint-size customers over with roasted rosemary potatoes, and recommending power breakfasts of yogurt, fruit and peanut butter on toast.

By Kim Ode

Star-Tribune (MN) (may require registration) 2008-01-06

Lunch count

Feeding needy students is part of National School Lunch Program, but study shows system is poorly monitored. The $8.2 billion program requires an eligibility form for free or reduced-price lunches, but conservatives suspect light scrutiny, since school funding is linked to poverty rates, and liberals suggest that reform would leave children hungry.

By Naush Boghossian and Lisa Friedman

Los Angeles Daily News 2007-12-26


Boston-area public school with 5,000 students adds new kitchens and cafeterias, a food services director with an interest in health and wellness, and now, a chef. Her first goal is adding fresh produce, whole grains, and colorful entrees to cafeteria meals - without losing customers or raising prices.

By Eric Moskowitz

The Boston Globe 2007-12-30

Lunch accounting

North Carolina schools record children's food choices so parents can track cookies, brownies and ice cream they buy, but cafeterias won't halt sales of processed foods. With no local funds for school lunches and costs rising, nutrition director says those sales keep cafeterias from going broke.

By Teri Walley

The Charlotte Observer 2008-01-03

Chips in school

Democrats' concerns about federal preemption of stricter state standards and Republicans' worries about restrictions on snack foods played into Senate's abandonment of amendment to its farm/food bill that would have limited processed, packaged snacks in public schools.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2007-12-15

Opinion: A start

Since farm/food bill is as good for the American consumer as most of the confections in school vending machines, amendment to limit junk food in schools is a refreshing, yet flawed, start. New rules would limit drinks for elementary school students, allow diet drinks in high schools, and would give school districts authority to impose stricter rules.

The editors

The New York Times 2010-12-10

Opinion: School foods

Without politics and profit, all our children would receive nutritious and delicious school foods, their own schools couldn't sell them junk food, states could set organic and local guidelines, and children would learn the benefits of a diet rich with fresh, local fruits, vegetables, and whole foods.

By Kate Adamick and Ann Cooper

Grist 2007-12-05

Snack attack

Lawmakers consider national ban on high-calorie snacks for schoolchildren as amendment to farm/food bill. But food activists splinter as dream of removing vending machines collides with political realities of bill that exempts chocolate milk, sports drinks and diet soda.

By Kim Severson

The New York Times 2007-12-02

See also 

Hot lunch

Study finds that school lunch sales don't decrease with more healthful offerings. Labor costs are more and districts must train staff and upgrade kitchens, but those costs are offset by buying fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods. Also, policing practice of charging lunch programs for cafeteria electricity and janitorial services can reduce costs.

By Steve Karnowski

The Associated Press; San Francisco Chronicle 2008-11-26

Parental guidance

For vocal coalition of parents, nutrition advocates and physicians, Congress and its support of the farm/food bill is the prime obstacle to nutritious, delicious foods for school children and for those in military. With legislation stalled in Senate, group sees chance to push its anti-corn dog agenda.

By Nicole Gaouette

Los Angeles Times 2007-11-25

Nugget of conflict

Nugget of conflict

School lunch tray becomes unifying symbol for farm-bill activists who support increase in fresh fruits and vegetables. Meanwhile, lobbying ramps up for longstanding subsidy recipients, including Tyson, which received $46 million in 2005 and produces cheese, meat and starches.

By Erika Lovley 2007-11-15

Slow progress

Though whole grains now are available in restaurants and even the military, schools, caught between a wellness revolution and a financial crisis, lag behind, with little control over labor, menus or budgets, food-oriented foundation reports.

By Margaret Stafford

The Associated Press 2007-11-07

Lunch lament

When the fat gets cut and the fries aren't hot from the fryer, the students find alternatives to lunch at Los Altos High School; what they want, they say, is choice, but school officials can't match food truck's cheeseburger to federal guidelines for fat and calorie counts.

By Joe Rodriguez

The Mercury News (CA) 2007-10-22

Parting gift

Memphis school lunch chief, who resigned after allegations of mismanagement and a one-year program loss of nearly $3.7 million, received nearly $8,800 in severance pay; official said it was the cheap and expedient solution.

By Kristina Goetz

Commercial-Appeal (TN) 2007-10-31

Sushi prerequisite

As colleges evolve into new view of students as customers, cafeterias begin buying locally, thinking sustainably and replacing mystery meat with offerings like pesto-crusted pork loin and oven-roasted beef with black-pepper demiglace; at Bowdoin, if the food tastes like Mom makes, that's because it's Mom's recipe.

By Bonny Wolf

National Public Radio 2007-10-01

Reducing, recycling

College, university cafeterias in Maine remove trays and see reduction in food waste; schools also institute buying locally, sending food waste to pig farms, composting scraps, buying in bulk and limiting seafood to species that are not vulnerable to overfishing.

By Ann S. Kim

Portland Press-Herald (ME) 2007-09-24

Young hunger:

Initiative to address children's needs begins with hunger relief in Iowa town after principal learns that student wasn't fed dinner for three nights in a row; poor nutrition diminishes cognitive and physical growth, and children who feed themselves lack ability to make good choices, expert say.

By Erik Hogstrom

Telegraph-Herald (IA) 2007-09-16

Weights increasing:

Weights increasing:

Obesity rates climb in 31 states, with no state showing decline in 2006; Mississippi, West Virginia and Alabama showed largest gains, and more children in Washington, D.C., are obese than anywhere else, according to CDC data analysis.

By Kevin Freking

The Associated Press; The Seattle Times 2007-08-26

See also 

Money and power:

The farm/food bill, now in Senate, covers land conservation, food stamps, school snacks and foreign aid, but it's really about politics and money; House agriculture chair declares that advocates for change were pushing too hard, but Bush likely would veto its version.

By Stephen J. Hedges

Chicago Tribune 2007-08-13

Lunchbox world:

Trash the idea of generating so much waste when packing and sending lunches with your little students; here's a collection of lunchboxes that keep cold things cold, hot things hot, and kids cool.

By Lisa Davis

Star-Telegram (TX) 2007-08-20

Growing lessons:

Vermont school, working with local farmers and agricultural experts, plants garden designed to feed its 200 students homegrown vegetables at lunchtime, teaching a way of life, not only nutrition or fitness.

By Nicole Orne

Brattleboro Reformer (VT)

Opinion: Hungry children, fed:

Government's subsidies to the very rich need to be addressed, but Congress should follow lead of the House in tending to nutrition needs of very poor around the world via the Food for Education program in the farm/food bill.

The editors

The Daily News Tribune (MA) 2007-08-28

Water wise:

With federal quality standards for bottled water less stringent than they are for tap water and 2 million tons of polyethylene bottles trashed every year in U.S., it makes sense to fill a reusable bottle with filtered water at home, then pack it for work or school.

By Eviana Hartman

Washington Post

See also 

Food/Farm bill:

It's a $70 billion annual bill, and before, only agribusiness cared, but a tsunami of activists now believes that its subsidies for corn and soy encourage diet-related disease and climate change; instead, they advocate money for sustainable and organic food production, agricultural conservation and for a priority on fresh, local fruits and vegetables.

By Carol Ness

San Francisco Chronicle