After a slight lull over the holidays, it’s been a busy week in food news. Topping the list is yesterday’s release of proposed federal guidelines for school lunches by the USDA, the first such change in 15 years. The recommendations (prompted by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act signed into law last month) include cutting salt and fat, adding more fruits and vegetables, and using more whole grains. The guidelines are still in draft form, of course, and it could take a few years for these seemingly reasonable recommendations to be mandated in schools. The recommendations are open for public comment through April 13.
Also in the news this week:
Nutritional Marketing Standards: As the Jolly Tomato reported this week, the FTC is more than a year late in releasing proposed nutritional standards for foods marketed to kids. A coalition of advocacy groups is saying, essentially, “Get moving!” Will it have an effect? Stay tuned.
“No” To Food Revolution?: Chef Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution campaign for healthy eating have arrived in L.A., but they have been shut out of L.A. school cafeterias. Will the district (which doesn’t want reality-style drama, according to the L.A. Times) have a change of heart and allow him to do what he did in Huntington, W.Va.? For now, he’s talking to families who might participate in a reality series and he’s opened a kitchen in Westwood – and he’s asking people to write to LAUSD board members.
“No” To Chocolate Milk: Continuing the great chocolate milk debate, the head of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health calls chocolate milk in public schools a recipe for a health disaster (via The Lunch Box). So at least we know where he stands (and he’s not alone).
Family Eating Trends: A new survey from the American Dietetic Association finds a mixed bag in family eating trends: More families are eating at home, but there are also more kids skipping meals and more kids snacking instead of meals (via the Chicago Tribune).
Teens’ Sugar Consumption: Continuing the march of bad news, Fooducate shares new findings that the average teen consumes 28 teaspoons of added sugar per day - almost 500 calories worth. Drinking soda much? This additional sugar consumption can be a risk factor for heart disease.
Food Dyes: If you’ve been following the news on the safety (or lack thereof) in commonly used food dyes, you’ll be interested to know that the FDA has scheduled a hearing on food dyes for March (via The Family Kitchen). The Center for Science in the Public Interest is urging the FDA to ban Red No. 40, Yellow No. 6 and Blue No. 1, which are currently banned in Europe.
Eating Disorders: In addition to childhood obesity, we have eating disorders to worry about. This L.A. Times interview with the University of Michigan’s Dr. David Rosen puts a spotlight on the growing trend of eating disorders among kids.
Kids Eat Vegetables!: And finally, some good news: Jenna from Food with Kid Appeal has a great account of her visit to a local elementary school and how, 400 students and 4,591 tastes later, she really believes that kids will try – and like – vegetables. It sure inspired us. On the menu for this weekend: Lots and lots of vegetables.
Happy Friday to all!