Tag Archives: government

New Nutrition Standards! .. made by Major Food Companies???

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Today at Foodfacts.com, we have come across a recent event that we feel should be mentioned. We know many of our followers are taking a healthy initiative to better feed themselves and their families. However, sometimes this can be difficult because the amount of processed foods that plague many supermarkets. The majority of junk in stores is directly targeted at children, of course by major food corporations just looking to make profit. Take a look at what is currently going on.

Today the Council of Better Business Bureaus in Washington, DC announced that major food companies such as Kellogg’s, Nestle, Kraft, and ConAgra will be cutting down on marketing unhealthy products aimed at children. Products will now only be marketed if they meet a new set of nutritional standards. What they forgot to mention was that the government had recently proposed a strict set of standards that these food companies disapproved of and discarded, then they turned around and made their own. Is this really ethical? Can food companies with a reputation of marketing mostly junk in boxes really be allowed to come up with their own nutritional standards? And why just now? After years of increasing numbers of children with obesity and diabetes, do they just start initiating nutritional standards? Sounds sketchy.

Here is the new criteria list set by the “Sensible Food Policy Coalition” (which is now what the big food corporations now refer to themselves as):

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Juices. For juices, no added sugars are permitted, and the serving must contain no more than 160 calories.

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Dairy. This category includes products such as milk and yogurt. For ready to drink flavored milk, an 8 fluid ounce portion is limited to 24 grams (g) of total sugars. For yogurt products, a 6 ounce portion is limited to 170 calories and 23 grams of total sugars. These sugars criteria include both naturally-occurring and sugars added for flavoring.

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Grains, fruits and vegetable products (and items not in other categories). This category includes products such as cereals, crackers and cereal bars. Foods with ≤ 150 calories, such as most children’s breakfast cereals, must contain no more than 1.5 g of saturated fat, 290 milligrams (mg) of sodium and 10 g of sugar (products with > 150−200 calories get proportionately higher limits). Foods in this category also must provide ≥ ½ serving of foods to encourage (fruits, vegetables, non- or low-fat dairy, and whole grains) or ≥ 10% of the Daily Value of an essential nutrient.

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Seeds, nuts, nut butters and spreads. Foods in this category, which includes peanut butters, must have no more than 220 calories, 3.5 g of saturated fat, 240 mg of sodium and 4 g of sugar per 2 tablespoons. Foods in this category also must provide at least one ounce of protein equivalent.

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Main dishes and entrees. Foods in this category, such as canned pastas, must have no more than 350 calories, 10 percent calories from saturated fat, 600 mg of sodium and 15 g of sugar per serving. Foods in this category also must provide either ≥ 1 serving of foods to encourage or ≥ ½ serving of foods to encourage and ≥ 10% of the Daily Value of two essential nutrients.

What do you think about these new standards? Let us know!

Chicago school bans homemade lunches, the latest in national food fight

CT  SCHOOL-LUNCH-2C_MAIN 0411 KMStudents who attend Chicago’s Little Village Academy public school get nothing but nutritional tough love during their lunch period each day. The students can either eat the cafeteria food–or go hungry. Only students with allergies are allowed to bring a homemade lunch to school, the Chicago Tribune reports.

“Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,” principal Elsa Carmona told the paper of the years-old policy. “It’s about … the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It’s milk versus a Coke.”

But students said they would rather bring their own lunch to school in the time-honored tradition of the brown paper bag. “They’re afraid that we’ll all bring in greasy food instead of healthy food and it won’t be as good as what they give us at school,” student Yesenia Gutierrez told the paper. “It’s really lame.”

The story has attracted hundreds of comments so far. One commenter, who says her children attend a different Chicago public school, writes, “I can accept if they want to ban soda, but to tell me I can’t send a lunch with my child. ARE YOU KIDDING ME????”

For parents whose kids do not qualify for free or reduced price school lunches, the $2.25 daily cafeteria price can also tally more than a homemade lunch. “We don’t spend anywhere close to that on my son’s daily intake of a sandwich (lovingly cut into the shape of a Star Wars ship), Goldfish crackers and milk,” Northwestern education policy professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach told the paper in an email. She told The Lookout parents at her child’s public school would be upset if they tried to ban homemade lunches.

“I think that lots of parents at least at my child’s school do think that what they pack is more nutritious [than school lunches],” she said. A Chicago public school teacher started a blog to protest the city’s school lunches, and last year the schools tightened their nutrition standards for cafeteria-served school lunches. Every lunch must contain whole grains, only reduced-fat salad dressings and mayonnaise are offered as condiments, and the meals must feature a different vegetable each day. Meal providers also must reduce sodium content by 5 percent annually. About 86 percent of the district’s students qualify for free or reduced price school lunches because their families live close to the poverty line.

Change in Chicago’s school cafeterias feeds into a larger effort to combat the country’s childhood obesity epidemic. About a third of America’s kids are overweight or obese, and since children consume at least 30 percent of their calories while in school, making lunches healthier is seen as one way to counter that problem. Poorer kids are also more likely to be obese or overweight than middle class kids, and to consume a bigger proportion of their calories while at school. Forty-four percent of American kids living below the poverty line are obese or overweight, according to a 2010 study published in Health Affairs.

While we haven’t been able to track down another school that bans homemade lunches outright, many smaller food battles have been playing out in cafeterias across the country. As principals try to counter obesity in their schools, healthy intentions can come across as overreach, occasionally sparking parent and student anger.

Alabama parents protested a school’s rule that barred students from bringing any drinks from home, as ice water was provided at lunch. East Syracuse, New York schools have outlawed cupcakes and other desserts. And schools around the country have kicked out chocolate milk and soda vending machines. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin even showed up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with dozens of cookies to express her disdain for a debate in the state about recommending teachers limit the number of times per month the sugary treats are eaten in classroom birthday celebrations.

Tucson, Arizona’s Children’s Success Academy allows home-packed lunches–but only if nothing in them contains white flour, refined sugar, or other “processed” foods, the Arizona Republic reported in a story last year. The school has no cafeteria, so some parents told the paper they struggled to find foods to pack that meet the restrictions. Many schools ban fast food or other take-out meals.

Soon, cafeteria offerings across the country will all be healthier, whether students like it or not. Last year’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, calls for higher nutritional standards to serve the 32 million kids who eat lunch every day at school (most of whom qualify for free or reduced price lunches through a federal government program). For the first time, the USDA will set calorie limits for school lunches, and will recommend they contain more vegetables and whole grains, and less salt, USA Today reports. French fries should be replaced by vegetables and fruit, the guidelines say.

The bill also calls for stricter food safety checks on cafeteria food.

Article provided by: Liz Goodwin