Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Change is Here! New Lunch Menus Announced

The following email was sent out by our district yesterday announcing the improvements coming to our school's lunch:

From: District Email
Date: August 30, 2010 2:35:40 PM EDT
To: North Shore Schools

Dear North Shore School District Families,

The Food Service for the district is busy preparing our kitchens for the first day of another new school year. This year, we find the word “new” to have a very special meaning. Over the last year, we surveyed and spoke openly with parents, students and members of the administration. We learned that many parents were actively keeping abreast of the nation’s drive toward School Food Reform and wanted things to change.

This summer, lawmakers have been busy finalizing the reauthorization of the National School Lunch Program and the nation is abuzz over healthy school lunches. Just today, Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsak, issued a statement to all schools throughout the nation, encouraging them to participate in the Healthier US School Challenge.

In a USDA press release Vilsak said, “Even as Congress considers legislation to make historic improvements to school meals, there are also steps that moms and dads and others in the community can take to improve the health and nutrition of the meals their kids eat each day.”

Over the next months you will find many changes in the ways we nourish your children. Who says school food can’t be real food? As a community, we are committed to:

-Increasing staff training to promote scratch cooking, which helps limit processed foods that contain potentially harmful additives and hidden allergens for those with food allergies and intolerances.

-Creating menus that are appealing and tasteful which, we believe, will have students buying more willingly and after eating a good, square meal they will feel and perform better during the school day.

-Offering entrees and snacks free of High Fructose Corn Syrup, dyes and unnecessary ingredients.

-Supporting our local farms by serving seasonal fruits and vegetables in season in a responsible way by making them plentiful and offering them on environmentally-friendly paper goods that can return to the earth quickly and without a trace.

-Replacing processed meats for sandwiches with Boars Head Brand® cold cuts to all schools.

Did you know that all school lunch programs are required by law to be self-sustaining? (which means that your tax dollars cannot be used to support the program). It is therefore necessary for our food service to increase prices in order to cover costs. Effective September 7, 2010, the following prices will be in effect:

Elementary Lunch $3.00
High School Breakfast $2.00
Middle School and High School Lunch $3.50
Middle School and High School Deli Bar $3.75
Milk $ .60
Bottled Water - Small/Large $ .75 / $1.25

Please find attached the menus for the opening of school. Menus will also be posted on the District's website at
We look forward to welcoming you to see and taste the changes in the district’s Food Service.

The new menus are not yet on the district website. (They list Sept but they are last year's.) We'll post more shortly on those and work on getting ingredient lists.

I'm very excited about the fresh fruit, variety of vegetables and the end of high fructose corn syrup. Plus, I won't miss the processed entrees with 50+ ingredients.

What are your thoughts? Let us know - click "comments" below.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Action Alert - Child Nutrition Act Update

The Senate passed their version of the child nutrition act governing school lunch before the August recess. The House has not yet voted on their, arguably better, version. We need a vote before the current legislation expires at the end of September and before we lose the ground we've gained in these new bills.

This email is from the nonprofit Feeding America and is one example of how you can help get this bill passed:

Earlier this month, the Senate passed a child nutrition bill. While the bill makes strong improvements in nutritional quality, it doesn't make the investments needed to connect hungry children with those programs. Far too many children are without access to food at breakfast, on weekends, afterschool and during the summer.

The House Can Do Better

The House has an opportunity to improve the bill by closing those gaps when they take up the legislation in September. Representatives in the House need to hear from their constituents that the House can and should do better.

When Congress returns from recess on September 13, they will have less than three weeks to complete the reauthorization of child nutrition programs before they expire on September 30. Feeding America is working hard to make sure Congress passes a strong bill as soon as they get back to Washington. We will be calling upon you and other advocates to help us push the bill over the goal line by participating in a national call-in the week of September 13. Get ready to act!

In the meantime, there are two things you can do to help us raise awareness about the importance of the child nutrition bill and demonstrate strong, grassroots support for ending child hunger.

  1. Send an email to your Representatives. Let them know that until the child nutrition bill is good enough for hungry kids, it shouldn't be good enough for Congress. Click here to send a message to Congress.

  2. Show. To raise awareness nationwide and to demonstrate grassroots support to Congress, we are asking our advocates to shoot a short video of themselves stating why they care about ending child hunger and passing a strong child nutrition bill

    Submit your video on YouTube and email us the link to your video to help us raise awareness and urge others to speak out on behalf of a strong child nutrition bill. We will take the most compelling videos and put them together in a video reel to send to Congress and promote on YouTube. Help us make caring about child hunger go viral! Additionally, throughout the month, we will highlight videos on the Hunger Action Center and on Feeding America's Facebook page. Check back soon to see if your video has been selected!

    Submitting a video is simple. Here's how:

    • If you don't already have a YouTube account, click this link ( to create your account.

    • Once you are signed into YouTube, click the "Upload" button to upload your video. You can either upload a video already saved on your computer, or record a video straight to YouTube using your webcam.

    • Add a title and description of your video in the fields provided, and be sure to add the tag "HAM2010" to the tag field (located directly beneath the description).

    • Once your video is fully processed, just copy and paste the link to your video and email it back to us at:

Your video will help make sure Congress knows that they must pass the House child nutrition bill---and they must do so now!

If you've been following the "fracking" debate (See our 8/9/10 post for more info), you may be interested in this email from the Working Families Party:

Want to keep up the fight to stop risky natural gas drilling ("hydrofracking") in New York State? We've got a great way to do it.

The Working Families Party has created a limited-edition "No Fracking Way!" bumper sticker that sends a powerful message about protecting our water and our environment -- and you can get one for free right now.

Click below to order your FREE bumper sticker -- or donate $8 or more and we'll send you a pack of 4 stickers to share with friends:

Thanks to the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who have spoken out against hydrofracking, our political leaders are beginning to take action to protect our drinking water from this risky practice, which involves blasting millions of gallons of chemical-filled water into the earth.

These bumper stickers are an easy (and yes, slightly edgy) way to amplify your opposition to dangerous gas drilling. The design highlights one of the most extreme and dangerous effects of hydrofracking -- tap water so contaminated you can actually light it on fire.

We can't let that happen here in New York. Get a free "No Fracking Way" bumper sticker to take a public stand against dangerous drilling:


Dan Cantor
WFP Executive Director


Friday, August 27, 2010

Weekend Reading - and Shopping


Ed Bruske aka The Slow Cook had a great post on his blog Better DC School Food about the rising obesity epidemic, the paradox of hunger and obesity in this country and the rising gap in the cost of healthy, fresh foods versus junk, nicely linking together some new research.

Dr. Susan (one of the Angry Moms) wrote a great post about The Myth of Brown Bagging - in which she argues it's not enough to pack your kid a healthy lunch if they are eating in a cafeteria selling junk -- your kid will be impacted.

And speaking of toxic food environments, this round up from The Daily Beast of the fat and calorie-laden "children's meals" found in restaurants across the country is appalling.

The Times had an interesting piece on "nudges" that might work in the ongoing battle against rising rates of obesity.

Back to School Shopping

The Environmental Working Group has put together some tips on buying greener school supplies. Read more here.

Food on Film - Next Tuesday - but you can look forward to it:

From Huntington's Cinema Arts Theater:

Films on Food! Co-sponsored by Slow Food, Huntington

Tuesday, August 31 at 7:30pm
$9 Members / $13 Public / Includes Reception / No Refunds

Guest Speaker: Ellen Kamhi, Ph.D., R.N., The Natural Nurse

Flowers. Trees. Plants. We've always thought that we controlled them. But what if, in fact, they have been shaping us? Using this provocative question as a jumping off point, The Botany of Desire, based on the best-selling book by Michael Pollan, takes us on an eye-opening exploration of our relationship with the plant world – seen from the plants' point of view. Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: to make their honey, the bees collect nectar, and in the process spread pollen, which contains the flowers' genes. The Botany of Desire proposes that people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. Shot in stunning high definition photography, the program begins with Michael Pollan in a California garden and sets off to roam the world: from the potato fields of Idaho and Peru to the apple orchards of New England; from a medical marijuana hot house to the tulip mecca of Amsterdam, where in 1637, one Dutchman, crazed with "tulipmania," paid as much for a single tulip bulb as the going price for a town house. Through the history of these four familiar plants, the film seeks to answer the question: Who has really been domesticating whom?

UUSA, 2009, 108 min.; Narrated by Frances McDormand

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Change Comes to Lunch In Sea Cliff!

For the past two months, we've been posting each Wednesday on the "additive of the week" and detailing the problems with highly processed and canned USDA commodity foods in our kids' school lunch - too much added, salt, pervasive added sugars - including high fructose corn syrup, MSG, nitrates, hydrogenated vegetable oil, genetically modified corn and soy, etc. Today, almost a year after we began working for change, we're announcing the end of the worst of these in our school's lunch with more details to come on how our district is accomplishing this change.

The following post was written by Julia van Loon, a food service consultant and reform advocate our district has hired to move our school's lunch toward fresh, minimally processed, wholesome foods. - Sara

Finally! This country has put school food on its agenda as one of the most important issues to address. It’s about time. Great, talented and capable players, committed to broadcasting the importance of this issue, are working in the field, writing blogs, going on twitter and climbing the Hill to speak out and beyond. My colleagues tell me to blog, tweet and speak out. I should start blogging and tweeting. I’m putting that on my list.

Speaking out? Not a problem. I speak out and practice what I believe as a school food reform advocate every day of the year. With thirty years in the field of hospitality and the passion to say ‘yes” to the school communities that invite me to join their efforts for school food reform, I always feel privileged to step up and help commander the front line. This is where I can perform my best work.

But, who are the enemies? We, as a collective group of advocates and believers, have found it easy to point our fingers toward the direction of the FDA and the USDA, always knowing that we will be pointing toward a vast network of bureaucracy and conflict, perhaps too omnipotent for making immediate change - but not so powerful that they can not be negotiated for making great changes - in due time. That’s not to say that we should bring our hands down. We should not. But, when realizing that we are one of the only countries that put student nutrition in the hands of the country’s department of agriculture, we must nod in agreement that we must take matters in our own hands, at a community level, for immediate results. Knowing that what drives the economics of our culture is so broad, so “in the moment,” it would be our duty to partner blame with immediate action. We haven’t the time to do one without the other.

Bring on the freedom fighters - the parents, the school administrators, the nutritionists, the culinary experts who have come together to create a loud and unarguably, impossible voice to ignore.

As I prepare strategic planning for helping to bring School Food Reform to another New York School District, I am both excited and honored. I am still in awe of any group of community members who place the importance of reforming school meals as high as I do and believe it should be on the list of ‘to do’s in education. The choir, to whom we meet and discuss the changes, grows bigger and bigger every year and they have the tools for furthering the education of the believers and non-believers on the immediate benefits to all children’s health by changing school food from what is has been to how it could be - real food, good food, one tray at a time.

For now, it is the parents of the North Shore School District who have been diligent and unrelenting in their demands for their foodservice program to begin joining the school food reform movement which is underway in so many schools around the country. Fortunately, the district’s administration presents a culture that is both supportive and pro-active wherever student wellness is concerned.

In the next months I will spend time in the kitchens to help reform and reverse the time-worn practices of school foodservice programs: Thaw and reheat practices will be replaced with scratch cooking techniques and fresh salad bars; The best of the government’s commodities will be incorporated into menus featuring whole foods to both compliment and minimize processed ingredients; A la Carte items, once the mainstay of additional revenue for school foodservice programs, will feature items that are both healthful and wholesome in nature and will supplement program revenue but never at the expense of any student’s health.

I feel very fortunate that there is a voice to share our development with the Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee’s great blog, and I look forward to documenting how school food reform can take hold in any school district, one tray at a time.

Julia van Loon

Monday, August 23, 2010

Action Alert

September is Hunger Action Month

To get ready, visit Feeding America's website for their list of 30 ways to fight hunger in 30 days.

Here on Long Island, the foods banks Long Island Cares and Island Harvest are having events.

For a list of food drop off sites for Long Island Cares including the Locust Valley library, please click here. For a daily calendar full of ideas from Island Harvest, please click here.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Weekend Reading - and Fun


The website Grist reviewed a new book that looks very appropriate for us -- How to Grow a School Garden. Read their review here.

The EPA announced that it was banning the pesticide Aldicarb because it was unsafe but after negotiating with the the manufacturer, Bayer, decided they could still produce it for a few more years. Read more then consider buying organic.


The New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx apparently have a vegetable garden with 96 varieties of veggies - - all growing in containers. Read the Container Veggie blog here to learn how to grow your own with however much (or little ) space you have -- then go visit the NYBG's Edible Garden exhibits through mid-October. You can get there from here in under 45 minutes.


You may remember Bhavani Jaroff who did our hands on healthy cooking demonstration with the kids this past Spring. Well, she has a radio show ever Wednesday from 5-6pm. To listen in live, just log onto, If you miss the show, you can always listen in at a later date by going into the archives. It usually takes 24 hours for the current show to be put on line, but all the past shows (along with recipes) can be gotten off of the website.

Just go to the PRN website, , click on archives, scroll down to iEat Green with Bhavani, and choose which show you want to listen to. Then press “download”. The show will come on, or you can download it to your iPod and listen in the car or whenever! She will also start posting the recipes and shows on my website at, as well as some upcoming events, so check that out as well. (See our posts on May 24 and 25 for more on the cooking demo and recipes.)

Fun with Kids

At Old Westbury Gardens on Saturday at noon, children ages 4 and up can hear the story Peter Rabbit and try vegetables from their garden "just as Peter would have."


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Article on Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee on Green Right Now

Hi, everyone -

Journalist Samantha Weinstein recently interviewed several committee members in her article on our efforts to change our school's food. If you'd like to read it, please click here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

GMOs in Food: Genetically Modified Food & Our Kids

This is a wonderful article about GM foods in our kids food.  They quoted me towards the end of the article.  I like what the Commack schools are doing around this issue.

GMOs in Food: Genetically Modified Food & Our Kids

Enjoy the bounty of high summer!


Change Comes to Sea Cliff

Big News! Our school district has been hard at work this summer revamping our lunch menus to greatly reduce the number of highly processed and canned foods served to our kids. We're looking forward to hearing more about the healthy, kid-friendly meals to come. We'll keep you posted!

Additive of the Week - Sugar

We're supposed to avoid added sugars but sugar in all its forms - sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, dextrose - is in most of the entrees and canned fruits served at our school including:

Most forms of Pizza (frozen pizzas have it and the ones we make do since we use the government tomato sauce which does.)

All pasta dishes with tomato sauce

Mozzarella Sticks

Chicken Nuggets


Peanut Butter

Turkey taco meat

All bread - rolls, sandwich bread, etc.

These are USDA commodity foods produced for school lunches -- and the sugar can really add up. For example, in our meatball heros there is added sugar in the meatballs, the tomato sauce and the roll it is served on.

A typical day at our school might serve chicken nuggets, corn, whole wheat bread and applesauce -- and every single item has added sugar.

Some items have a huge amount of sugar such as the "chilled" strawberries with 30 grams!

One more reason to always read the labels.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Action Alert

Tell the FDA to End the Overuse of Antibiotics on Farms

From the Center for Science in the Public Interest:

A human health crisis is brewing on our nation’s farms. An estimated 70 percent of antibiotics used in the United States are fed to animals that are not sick, breeding antibiotic-resistant bacteria and causing costly, painful, and sometimes deadly human diseases. We need your help to stop this practice.

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration acknowledged the dangerous health risks of overusing antibiotics, yet the agency has done nothing to solve the problem. In June, the FDA released a set of principles for using antibiotics safely, but there’s still no regulation in sight. The FDA is seeking public feedback on this issue, so please write today and tell the agency to prevent the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture.


Michael F. Jacobson
Executive Director
Center for Science in the Public Interest

Friday, August 13, 2010

Weekend Reading, Researching -- and an App


Ann Cooper (of Two Angry Moms fame) has a great post on her blog about the USDA commodity foods in our school lunch and the upcoming Farm Bill.

Read Jill Richardson's recap of the child nutrition bill that has passed the Senate on La Vida Locavore.

A new study out of Australia links the "Western Diet" which school lunches typify with ADHD. Read more here.

WSJ subscribers can read about the salt hidden in our diets - processed, packaged foods being a huge culprit. Read your labels.


The Environmental Working Group has a database of skin care products that rates their toxicity at their website. Click here.

More Apps!

The Center for Food Safety has an app for your phone that lets you determine which foods contain genetically modified foods. Download it here.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Additive of the Week - Genetically Modified Soy and Corn

The following foods served at our school contain soy or corn or one of their main derivatives, e.g. high fructose corn syrup:


Chicken Nuggets (corn and soy)

Mozzarella Cheese Sticks (corn and soy)

Tomato/Spaghetti Sauce (corn and soy)
(in many entrees - pasta dishes, meatball and chicken parm sandwiches, mozzarella sticks, pizzas made at the school, italian dunkers)
Pizza - frozen - various (soy)

Chicken in Chicken parm sandwiches (corn and soy)

Bagels (corn)

French Bread for Italian Dunkers (soy)

Club roll (meatball heros, etc.) (corn and soy)

Whole Wheat Bread- sandwiches, bread slice (corn and soy)

Sliders (soy) and their buns (corn and soy)

Turkey Taco Meat (soy)

Meatballs (soy)

Sides: (these all contain corn, corn syrup or HFCS)

Mixed Fruit



These are largely USDA commodity foods served in schools all over the U.S. The main exception is the bread.

On June 11th, we served Sliders, Peaches and Corn - putting either soy or corn in every single item we served. Another day, it was chicken nuggets, bread and applesauce - all with corn or soy or both.

Why do we want to avoid this kind of ubiquity of corn and soy?

In the movie The World According to Monsanto, they point out that90% of soy and 40% of corn grown in the US is genetically-modified (GM). They are also pervasive in processed foods.

Monsanto has genetically modified its seeds so that the corn and soy plants could be doused with RoundUp and survive. They tried to claim RoundUp was biodegradable - but regulators have since said this is not true and cannot be stated on the label. So, every day, our kids eat processed foods at lunch loaded with GM corn and soy treated with RoundUp. RoundUp has been shown to cause cell division - which you can take to mean it ultimately causes cancer.

Further, under US law, GM plants were declared to be substantially the same as non-GM plants and were never fully tested. In Europe, they are banned.

You can see the film online for the full story on Monsanto, GM crops and RoundUp.

Or read more online:
WHO on GM Foods


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Action Alert #3 - Child Nutrition Act Update

Here's more information on what could be a vote TODAY on the child nutrition act in the House. Phone numbers included so that you can call even if you're on vacation!

This update is from the NY Coalition for Healthy School Food:

Dear Child Advocates,

You may have heard that the Senate passed their Child Nutition Reauthorization (CNR) bill last Thursday by unanimous consent. This bill contains $4.5 billion for child nutrition over the next 10 years (this is just 6 cents per meal extra per day, and that is not enough!) We had hoped the Senate bill would pass before recess - and it did - and the momentum would build for the House to pass their version upon return in September with just two weeks before the bill is set to expire.

Unexpectedly, however, the Senate cut $2.2 billion from SNAP (Food Stamps) in order to pay for the child nutrition bill. We oppose funding cuts from SNAP to pay for the CNR.

SNAP, although not a school or child care based program, is important to achieving the goals for all children to have easy access to healthy food. We are disappointed to see this shift of resources from one vital nutrition program to another, and we have registered that disappointment with our Senators.

I urge you to share your opinion today, with Senator Gillibrand (202) 224-4451 and Senator Schumer 202-224-6542 (if you are from New York State). You can thank them for moving this bill, voice concerns about the funding level and source, and share any perspective you have. This is really the last opportunity you will have to have your Senators attention on this bill now that it's passed the chamber. I urge you to take this opportunity to weigh in about their decisions. For more information you can read Senator Gillibrand's press release.

More importantly, there is still time to influence House action on CNR and impact the funding and content of the bill. The House version of CNR invests $8 billion in child nutrition programs (instead of $4.5 billion) and has not targeted other nutrition programs to pay for it. PLEASE TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY to contact your Representative and ask that they fully fund and pass HR 5504, the Improving Nutrition For America's Children Act, when they return from recess in September (not today), and that they do so without cutting funds from other nutrition programs. Please call your Representative today and ask them to pass the House version with AT LEAST $8 billion in funding, without taking money from SNAP (Food Stamps). (Note that once you enter your zip code and address, you will be provided with a link to your Senators' and Respresentative's contact information.) Please also ask that they include the provisions of H.R. 4870 in the bill, to pilot plant-based commodity foods.

This message to the House is truly important. Our Representatives will return to DC today for an emergency vote, and there is concern that the less-well-liked Senate version of CNR will be passed in the House today. Again, the Senate bill makes only half the investment in child nutrition and cuts SNAP (Food Stamps) to do so. We want the stronger House bill to move forward.

Thank you again for your support for child nutrition. Let's hope we start the new year with at least an $8 billion bill and other vital nutrition programs intact!

Best wishes,

Amie Hamlin
Executive Director

You can call our Congressman Peter King directly at 202-225-7896.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Action Alert #2 - Child Nutrition Act Update

Call Congress Now! The Senate has actually passed their version of the Child Nutrition Act! Now the House may vote tomorrow on their version IF THEY HEAR FROM US. Here are the details and a link to make contacting our representative really easy from Slow Food USA:

After our huge campaign where 20,000 Slow Food supporters gathered for Eat-Ins all over the country, over 100,000 emails were sent and phone calls bombarded Congress, last Thursday the Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act - the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. This is the legislation that governs the quality of school lunches. Thanks to everyone for such a huge effort!

The version that passed in the Senate included a bunch of our priorities - more funding for healthier meals, regulations to kick junk food out of school vending machines, and $50 million for Farm to School programs, but it also makes cuts to food stamps in order to pay for them.

The next step is for the House to pass the bill, maybe when they return from break in September. Or maybe they will pass it tomorrow before they head out.

This is why we need your urgent help.

The House bill, which is still being debated, has much of what we asked for but avoids making cuts to food stamps (SNAP) - a move which will impact the children that are the most vulnerable. School lunch should not be funded at the expense of other important food programs.

Contact your legislator now to make sure that we get the bill our children deserve.

Thanks for all you do,

Jerusha Klemperer, Program Manager and the Time for Lunch team at Slow Food USA.

If you are concerned about the cuts in SNAP benefits in the Senate version, Feeding America sent this email with details on contacting our senators:

Yesterday, the Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307). Unfortunately, the Senate made a last minute change to pay for the new investments in the bill by cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). There may be strong pressure for the House to pass the Senate child nutrition bill next Tuesday when the House returns to take a vote on a bill to provide emergency funding for Medicaid and teacher funding.

While we support completing Child Nutrition Reauthorization this year, the Senate-passed bill does not make as robust of an investment in program access that the House bill would make and it is paid for by cuts to SNAP benefits, nearly half of whom are children. This is not an acceptable child nutrition bill for the House to approve, and so we are urging the House to move its version when Congress returns in September.

Feeding America supports the stronger House version because it includes additional investments that help Americans struggling with hunger. We are now calling on all of our anti-hunger advocates to stand up and tell their Representative to pass the House version of Child Nutrition Reauthorization (H.R. 5504) when Congress returns in September. We need to show our leaders in Washington that our nation's children need a strong Child Nutrition bill that puts us on the path toward ending hunger! Help us deliver that message by taking action today!

Calling your Representative is easy, and your voice will make a difference. You can help us get a better Child Nutrition bill!

To make your call, just follow these simple steps:
- Dial the toll-free number---866-548-0332
- When prompted, enter your PIN---161920
- Listen to the instructions, and you will be patched through to your first Senator's office automatically.
- Inform your Senator's office that you are a constituent and deliver this message: "As my Representative I urge you to pass the House Child Nutrition bill (H.R. 5504) when Congress returns in September. It's critical that Congress enact a robust Child Nutrition bill that increases access to programs and improves nutrition without cutting SNAP/Food Stamps benefits."

It looks like we might actually get a school lunch bill passed!


Action Alert

We Need a Vote on Improving Food Safety

From the Center for Science in the Public Interest:

Food-safety advocates have been patient. You’ve sent emails, signed petitions, made phone calls and held events in your communities to bring attention to the broken condition of our national food-safety system. Yet, reform legislation that could help the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) move from reacting to foodborne illness outbreaks to preventing them remains on the U.S. Senate back-burner.

Time is running out. In order to get this important legislation enacted, President Obama must make it a priority. Tell President Obama we need him to send a message to the U. S. Senate that food safety legislation must be passed now!

In the first few months of his administration, President Obama told the nation that he intended to make improving the safety of our food supply a part of his legacy during his weekly address on March 14, 2009:

"We are a nation built on the strength of individual initiative. But there are certain things that we can't do on our own. There are certain things that only a government can do. And one of those things is ensuring that the foods we eat, and the medicines we take, are safe and don't cause us harm.”

Tell President Obama we need the FDA to be the “cop on the beat” protecting our families from contaminated food products.

Haven’t we all witnessed what happens when companies are allowed to operate without any or limited government oversight? The disastrous results of Wall Street dealings almost toppled our economy and one company drilling for oil off our coasts may have jeopardized the environment millions of Americans have called home for generations.

Send a message to the President: We want the U.S. Senate to vote on food safety now!

Thank you for taking a stand for safe food!


David Plunkett
Senior Staff Attorney, Food Safety Program
Center for Science in the Public Interest

We Need New Legislation to Make Chemicals in Consumer Products Kid-Safe

The Environmental Working Group has a petition you can sign telling Congress we need new laws regulating toxic chemicals now routinely found in the bloodstream of our kids. There are a number of bills in Congress now that need action.

Tell Congress to close the "Halliburton Loophole" to protect drinking water from contamination

(From the Natural Resources Defense Council) The "Halliburton Loophole" exempts hydraulic fracturing, an oil and gas production method that has been linked to water contamination, from Safe Drinking Water Act regulations. Urge your senators and representative to co-sponsor legislation to repeal the Halliburton Loophole. Send a letter.

You can read more hear about 'fracking' and its impact on local farms and beef in particular on Mark Bittman's blog or more generally on the Huffington Post's website.

Here in New York, the state senate just voted to ban fracking and the assembly will take up the issue in the fall.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Weekend Reading, Fun -- and Apps


On Wednesday, Michelle Obama had an opinion piece in The Washington Post about the importance of passing the Child Nutrition Act. Read it and then call Congress.

If you're packing up for your family's vacation, you may want to read this sunscreen report from the Environmental Working Group on the best and worst sunscreens and how to avoid hormone-disrupting chemicals.

This article in Scientific American lays out the research and pending legislation around the links between chemicals in common household products with cancer and other illnesses.

Read about the recall by Kelloggs of a number of popular kids cereals because a chemical contaminant had leached from the packaging into the food making people sick. This report also details how little we know about how safe food packaging is -- yet another reason to avoid processed, packaged food where you can. In many schools, Kelloggs cereals are served for breakfast.

The cover story in this month's Consumer Reports is entitled "The 12 Most Dangerous Supplements" along with an article rating multivitamins. At newstands now or online with a subscription.


Plan an eco-friendly cook out. Subscribers to the WSJ can read the whole article here which suggests grass-fed beef for the grill, hot dogs from Applegate Farms, reusable or compostable tableware and where to get lump charcoal made just from wood without extra chemicals.

Apps (Does this count as 'Fun'?)

You can get an app for your iPhone from that gives you a list of the conventional produce most likely to have high levels of pesticides. They also have a paper wallet-sized version if you prefer. Click here.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Additive of the Week - Fact Sheet on Fruits and Vegetables

We've compiled this fact sheet based on the labels of the fruits and vegetables served as sides in our school's cafeteria. The pesticide information is from The canned and frozen foods on this list are USDA commodity foods served in schools all over the country.

Likelihood of Pesticides Canned, Frozen or Fresh Ingredients / Sugar or Salt Content
Chilled Mixed Fruit canned peaches, pears, grapes, corn syrup, sugar - 15g sugar
Chilled Cherries high canned water packed
Chilled Blueberries high do not have
Chilled Peaches high canned corn syrup, sugar - 16g sugar
Chilled Pears canned high fructose corn syrup - 14g sugar
Chilled Applesauce high canned corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, erythorbic acid
Apricot Cup frozen 'syrup' - 30g carbs
Strawberry Cup high frozen 'syrup' - 30g sugar
Fresh Banana fresh naturally occuring
Fresh Orange fresh naturally occuring
Fresh Apple high fresh naturally occuring
Fresh Watermelon low fresh naturally occuring
Fresh Cantalope Chunks low fresh naturally occuring
Steamed Brown Rice dry naturally occuring
Chick Pea Salad canned salt, disodium EDTA - 380 mg
Tomato Sauce for Dipping canned corn syrup, salt -- 870 mg sodium in half a cup
Warm Carrots canned salt and calcium chloride - 370 mg sodium
Cucumber Slices fresh naturally occuring
Balsamic Roasted Carrots canned salt and calcium chloride - 370 mg sodium
Lemon Glazed Carrots canned salt and calcium chloride - 370 mg sodium
Baked Potato high naturally occuring
Mashed Sweet Potato low canned low sodium?
Roasted Potatoes high canned salt and calcium chloride - 420 mg sodium
Steamed Spinach frozen naturally occuring
Spinach w/ Garlic & Oil frozen naturally occuring
Tossed Salad fresh naturally occuring
Green Bean Salad canned salt - 380 mg
Warm Green Beans canned salt - 380 mg
Italian Style Green Beans canned salt - 380 mg
Black Beans & Brown Rice canned salt, ferrous gluconate - 430 mg sodium
Steamed Broccoli frozen naturally occuring
Steamed Zucchini fresh naturally occuring
Celery, Carrot & Pepper Sticks w/ Dressing high fresh
Black Bean Salad canned salt, ferrous gluconate - 430 mg sodium
Golden Corn Niblets low canned added sugar and salt

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Action Alert

Reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act

We need this bill brought to the floor for a vote before the Congressional recess starts Aug. 9th. Healthy Schools Campaign makes it easy to send a letter. Click here. The current legislation governing school lunches expires at the end of Sept. and school starts even before that. We can't afford to lose the momentum of this bill and the additional funds and nutritional standards it provides. Call Congress Today.

Ask that Chicken Sent to Schools at Least Meet Fast Food Standards

MoPIRG would like you to sign their petition to Michelle Obama asking that spent hens and chicken that would be rejected by KFC not be donated to schools as USDA commodities for lunch. Seems reasonable.

Stop Junk Food Marketing to Kids

From the Center for Science in the Public Interest:

Fruit Gushers, Kid Cuisine Pepperoni Double Stuffed Pizza, and Cookie Crisp Sprinkles cereal--that’s what companies consider to be healthy foods that are OK to market to kids. If you disagree, I hope you will take action today.

Last year, the Center for Science in the Public Interest worked with Senator Harkin to pass a law requiring an Interagency Working Group with representatives from the Federal Trade Commission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop model nutrition standards for food marketing to children. While those standards were initially to be released in February, parents and public health experts are still waiting.

Please contact the agencies in the Interagency Working Group and the White House today and tell them that protecting children from junk-food marketing cannot wait! Urge them to release strong marketing standards this summer.

Thank you!

Margo Wootan, DSc.
Director, Nutrition Policy
Center for Science in the Public Interest