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April 13, 2010

Students Stand Up for Healthier Food at School

School lunch The battle against school lunch has a new and powerful voice: students.

According to the Chicago Tribune, at a March 24 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students came before the board to complain about the food served at their schools. Describing the “sickening pizza”, “hard bread” and “tan-colored slop”, the students made a compelling case for new food options at their schools, asserting that their health was at risk.

One student described the plight of lower-income students who rely on school lunch to provide the nutrition they need each day, but instead are served high-fat, low-quality meals. Available fruits and vegetables were described as sub-par, such as brown lettuce and moldy fruit. CPS student Asia Snyder was reportedly direct: “You feed us fat, greasy, disgusting meals . . ..It’s what’s making us fat.”

Bob Bloomer, regional vice president of Chartwells-Thompson (the provider of food for 478 CPS schools), declared that students are the problem, stating that food offerings like whole-grain nachos and pizza with low-fat meat are the best they can do, because “we try to make what they like healthy and low-fat”.

However, CPS CEO Rob Huberman vowed that there would be change, stating that the coming weeks would see a “big restructuring of the food services process.” Additionally, a CPS spokeswoman said that schools would see more healthy options added, and it has been reported that CPS is already phasing out items such as nachos, doughnuts and pop-tarts. In fact, last week the Chicago Public Schools announced new nutritional standards for school meals.

Read more:

Chicago Tribune, Students lament state of school meals, 3-24-10
Chicago Sun-Times, No raves for CPS lunches, 3-25-10
Chicago Public Schools press release, 4-7-10

Thank you to William Mitchell College of Law student Erin Rohne for preparing this post.  Ms. Rohne is a student of Professor Donna M. Byrne.

April 13, 2010 in Children, nutrition policy | Permalink

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