The struggle continues as the House Committee votes to allow schools to opt out of the nutritional program mandated by the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. Somehow we’re not surprised by this action. How much money do you think changed hands for those votes?
It seems, however, that things are just about to get interesting.
• The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing next Thursday on reauthorization of the child nutrition programs, including school meals, a full year before those programs need to be reauthorized.
• Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., supports the healthier meal rules, and her decision to hold the hearing a year early seems to be a reaction to the House proposal.
As different sectors of the US economy, the United Fresh Produce Association and processed-food giant ConAgra for instance, realize their stake in the issue, it promises to heat-up to a real food fight. Should we feed our kids more pizza made in the Midwest, or more fruits and vegetables grown in California, Florida and Texas?
Opponents to the healthier meal rules suggest that they are “too difficult” to follow. I wish I could remember the author of the tweet that crossed my desk that suggested, “following that logic, maybe we should cancel math and science scholastic requirements. as well.”
I understand that “less salt, sodium and fat and more low-fat dairy and meat products, whole grain breads and pasta and requiring a half cup of fruit and vegetables at every meal” may not be every person’s idea of “healthy”, but is it really that difficult to look out for the well-being and health of our children? Is it that hard to say they shouldn’t be fed only processed food? Even though that’s what they may prefer, who is the responsible adult here?