Do We Need More School Lunch Regulations?
By Karen Ballum on October 15, 2011
When we look at some of them school lunches being served to kids in Amy Kalafa's Lunch Wars, sometimes it's easy to think that we need more school lunch regulations. Why are kids being served sugary cereals and donuts for breakfast? Why chocolate milk instead of regular milk? But are more regulations really the answer? It is possible that we actually need less?
I will readily admit that I don't really understand USDA school lunch requirements. Looking at them and trying to understand how school administrations can get all of this done on a budget... I can understand the appeal of outsourcing menu and food preparation to a third-party. It's hard, especially when you remember how small of a budget ($1 per student per lunch) the schools are working with.
How are school working within USDA guidelines changing school lunches for the better? Slowly, or not at all. Emily Jackson, who is with the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project admits that their school lunches aren't quite what people may envision. They do serve local produce, but usually in the form of one or two vegetables being incorporated into the school lunches each month (p. 220). Local, sustainable produce isn't forming the main part of the plate. At least not yet. Other schools, like Bruce Gluck's, have dropped out of the National School Lunch Program entirely. Gluck serves students fresh food and although his school does have a la carte items, the line for the school lunch is longer.
Do you think we need more regulations for school lunches? Do we need less? Or do we maybe need to scrap them and start all over again?
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