View Full Version : National school lunch program likely to be overhauled

12-02-2010, 09:31 AM
This from SFGate.com (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/12/02/MNE71GK6AK.DTL) by Carolyn Lochhead:
The biggest overhaul of the national school lunch program and other federal food programs in 30 years is expected to pass the House today, following a rare unanimous Senate vote earlier this year. It would enact a key plank of first lady Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign.

Championed by Bay Area Democratic Reps. George Miller of Martinez and Lynn Woolsey of Petaluma, as well as a coalition of celebrity chefs appalled by the poor quality of school lunches, the $4.5 billion, 10-year legislation would increase nutritional standards in all federal food programs and eliminate junk food and soda from school campuses nationwide, following California's lead over the past decade.

Indeed the legislation takes into the national mainstream Berkeley food guru Alice Waters' once-radical school gardening concept by including $40 million in mandatory funding for a program to encourage schools to buy food from local farms and start their own gardens.

It also provides a 6-cents-per-lunch boost to schools, along with a welter of other provisions nudging schools to improve the nutritional value of the meals they provide. The funding is just half of what President Obama initially requested, but nutrition experts said it's a significant boost to the amount the federal government pays schools now, which ranges from 26 cents to $2.72, depending on parents' income. California will receive an extra $34.5 million a year from the bill.

The school lunch and other federal food programs feed more than 31 million children a day, and half of all infants born in the United States.

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12-03-2010, 09:26 AM
This from SFGate.com (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/12/03/MNCI1GL3A5.DTL) by Nick Anderson:
The Democrat-led House voted Thursday to send President Obama a bill that would enable more poor children to receive free meals at school, raise the nutritional quality of cafeteria fare and reduce the junk food and sugary beverages sold in school vending machines.

The bill, which cleared the Senate in the summer, won House approval on a 264-157 vote. Seventeen Republicans broke party ranks to join Democrats in favor of the bill. Four Democrats were opposed.

The bill, a priority for the president and first lady Michelle Obama, would boost spending on child nutrition $4.5 billion over 10 years and raise federal reimbursements for school lunches more than the inflation rate for the first time since 1973. It also would require for the first time that free drinking water be available where meals are served.

The bill accelerates the budding healthful-food movement in public education - think whole wheat pizza, with low-fat cheese and low-sodium sauce - but leaves unanswered key questions about whether schools can afford to give tens of millions of students better meals.

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