Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Soapbox: Ingredient Transparency Ought to be the Law

Last year, our district took the enormous step of posting all ingredient and nutrition labels for all foods served to students on their website.

Blogs like Healthy Tara chronicled how hard - if not impossible - it is to find out what's in the food being served for school lunch. Journalist  Ed Bruske of Better DC School Food was banned from talking to his food service provider after he tried to get ingredient labels.  Meanwhile, blogs such as these praised our district for being particularly open about the food they served.

Currently, while our school lunch is no doubt vastly improved over last year, we do not have access to the ingredients. I hope - and believe - this situation will be remedied in October once more of the pieces of our new lunches are in place.

Dr. Susan of Two Angry Moms talked about the importance of ingredient transparency in her blog. The infamous "Mrs. Q" - the anonymous school lunch eating blogger of Fed Up With School Lunch fame - also makes her plea for revealing ingredients. Finally, finding out what was actually in our food was a huge factor in our district's decision to change our food for the better.  Before our work last year, no one really knew- not the kids, not the parents, not the people serving the food or the administration. But now we do.....or we did.

Food companies are required to provide ingredient lists and nutrition information on all their products and for good reason. You cannot make educated choices about what to eat without knowing what is in the food. Further, with allergies proliferating among school-aged children, many parents need to know what's in the food. Clearly we should know what are children are being fed.

Further, I think it should be the law.  Washington, DC passed important legislation this past year to improve their school food and it requires that schools post ingredients. Posting ingredients to the web is not expensive or particularly time-consuming (I scanned all the labels myself).

Our district should be a leader both in posting ingredients and making sure parents throughout our county have the same access we do.

Once parents really know what's in the commodity foods served to kids everywhere in this country, then things will begin to change.  No one wants their kids to eat salt-laden green beans boiled in a BPA lined can or frozen pizzas with 76 ingredients or chicken nuggets full of everything but chicken.

If you agree, join us!


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