Sound Off: Eliminating Junk Food from Schools

USDA issues ruling to eliminate junk food from school cafeterias, vending machines.

Editor's Note: This article was written and submitted by Matthew Hogan.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued its ruling to eliminate the sale of all junk food in schools earlier this week.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Schools Act, signed into law in 2010 on the back of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, requires the USDA to establish nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools, including beyond the federally-supported school meals programs.

The USDA's proposal includes:
  • Promoting the availability of healthy snack foods with whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables or protein foods as their main ingredients.
  • Ensuring snack food items are lower in fat, sugar, and sodium and provide more of the nutrients kids need.
  • Allowing variation by age group for factors such as beverage portion size and caffeine content.
  • Preserving the ability for parents to send in bagged lunches of their choosing or treats for activities such as birthday parties, holidays and other celebrations; and allowing schools to continue traditions like occasional fundraisers and bake sales.
  • Ensuring that standards only affect foods that are sold on school campus during the school day. Foods sold at an after-school sporting event or other activity will not be subject to these requirements.
  • Allows significant local and regional autonomy by only establishing minimum requirements for schools. States and schools that have stronger standards than what is being proposed will be able to maintain their own policies.

The standards will take effect at least one full school year after public comment is considered and an implementing rule is published to ensure that schools and vendors have adequate time to adapt.

Do you think "junk food" should be eliminated from schools in Bellmore-Merrick? Tell us in the comments section below.
FedUpRealist February 06, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Please, many generations grew up with junk food and are doing JUST FINE...Do we really need the goverment telling us what our children can OR CAN"T eat?...I ate yodels and twinkies and drank lots of soda...I was never fat, had lots of fun and was socially well-adjusted....I was an active kid who got plenty of excercise...My parents never took away the joy of eating criminal jaw-breakers or dangerous potato chips or slurping down on, well, a sugar sweet Slurpee...Solution: take the video game out of the kids hand, take the heavy kid to the gym and police the food in your own home...That's part of one's job as a parent ...If a kid is otherwise healthy but overweight, have the parent look in the mirror and point straight ahead at the culprit...And keep the damn government out of our stomachs!!!
Darlene M Smith February 06, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Really cancer, heard disease and diabetes are at record highs. I guess all the junk food had nothing to do with it.. By the way we even the junk food of today is worst than it was years ago back then they used real sugar, now its all chemicals, GMO, and who knows what else, is in our food. Anything to make a buck! Government isn't telling you what to feed your kids your more than welcome to go to the store and pack them a box of junk to bring to school.
Stephanie February 08, 2013 at 01:37 PM
Yes. Most children, if given the choice, will elect to buy or eat junk food. There are too many preservatives and artificial ingredients in these enticing food. In addition, the portion sizes in package, in which we are lead to assume is 1 serving, are too large. When have you ever encountered a child that eats only half a bag of chips, even though the bag is 2 servings? On the flip side, given no choice and an array of healthy foods children will opt to eat fruit and vegetables if they are presented with them. I have worked in a school for the past 13 years and over time, have noticed the above. Sometimes kids need help making better choices and sometimes no choice is a good choice, when presented with one option being better than the other.


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