USDA Wants to Update Nutrition Standards for School Lunches? Great Idea! —Except for the Terrible Nutrition Plans and the Glaring Conflicts of Interest….

January 25, 2011
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iStock_000013621451XSmallAnd will kids now be given even more genetically modified foods in their school lunches? It may well happen—unless we take action now!

The US Department of Agriculture has published a proposed rule to review nutrition standards for meals served through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

The proposed rule would review standards for school meals for the first time in fifteen years. Nearly 32 million children participate in the program. The changes are based on the Institute of Medicine’s report, “School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children,” which offered recommendations on ways to align the program with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

We certainly applaud attempts to make our woefully unhealthy school lunch programs more nutritious. But the USDA is far from a neutral body, and there are reasons why it should not be setting nutrition requirements for children.

First, it seems clear that USDA officials don’t pay attention to nutrition research. They advocate a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet that includes skim milk, yet such a diet can actually make people obese, as illustrated by research from the Weston Price Foundation. Certain fats are most definitely good for you. Besides olive oil and flaxseed oil (the latter is high in omega-3s), butter has proven nutritional benefits, as does coconut oil—we have written about its ability to treat or even help prevent Alzheimer’s, but it is good for us in many other ways as well.

Moreover, government food programs using USDA guidelines have notably poor nutrition plans as a result. For example, the government WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program includes soy-based infant formula as an alternative to milk—despite the documented dangers to infants.

The emphasis on soy should not be surprising, given the agency’s close ties to Big Food and biotechnology companies. In the USDA’s new proposed rule for school lunch and breakfast programs, would our children be fed genetically modified foods? The agency is silent on this issue. Why? Again, because of the USDA’s active support for Big Food and biotech firms. The agency would never voluntarily make a stand against them.

This means USDA cannot be an impartial advocate for children’s health: there is an inherent conflict of interest. Not only a conflict, but confusion as well: although its nutrition guidelines continue to demonize fats and cholesterol, the USDA has a marketing arm called Dairy Management that actively pushes the sale of cheese and milk, even convincing Domino’s to add 40% more cheese to its pizzas!

Recent Wikileaks cables reveal the US government push for GMOs abroad—including a 2007 cable from Craig Stapleton, former US ambassador to France, mentioning a strategy of retaliation against the EU for refusing GMO seeds. In addition, the USDA is very likely going to deregulate GE alfalfa, and if it does, this will set a dangerous precedent for the deregulation of GE sugarbeets as well. This agency cannot impartially regulate the food industry—and certainly should not be in charge of what is fed to our children.

We must take action now. Citizens may now give USDA their input on the proposed rule for nutrition standards. Demand a complete ban on genetically modified foods in National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs because of the dangerous side effects of GMO foods!


TO SEND YOUR MESSAGE TO THE USDA

Click THIS LINK to go to the Action Alert page. Once there, fill out the form with your name and address, etc., and customize your letter. We have a suggested message for you, but please feel free to add your own comments to the letter.

We’d also love to hear your comments about this article—just add your thoughts below—but remember that the messages below are only seen by our ANH-USA readers and not USDA.

20 Responses to “USDA Wants to Update Nutrition Standards for School Lunches? Great Idea! —Except for the Terrible Nutrition Plans and the Glaring Conflicts of Interest….”

  1. Gina says:

    I am a member of Care2 which helps get the word out about issues surrounding health, environment, vaccines, etc etc…well I get this email about how I must sign this petition in favor of the USDA finalizing their “common-sense” standards for school lunches. I guess there are Senators that are trying to stop them. Here is the petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/735/579/501/

    If you review this petition you will see that it is worded in such a way that would provoke an emotion but not give details of the real issue. People are signing this thinking that the USDA wants to get healthy food into the schools when this is not entirely true…and in my opinion, the USDA, like the EPA and FDA, are not ‘for the people’…they are for whomever they are financially in bed with.

    In fact, just recently I read about how the USDA has been pushing GMOs.

    At this point I did a little more research on Care2 and discovered it is a site where ANYONE can solicit a petition. At that point I felt duped because I realized I could have signed a petition written to help BP, Enron, Pfizer, GMOs, etc.

    This is why I am taking the time to spread the word about Care2 and to say before you sign anything make sure you know what you are signing. Most people probably do, but there are a few thousand people who signed the above petition and I bet they do not realize they are ultimately saying feed our kids GMOs. I do not think this was their intention.

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  2. Jane Molloy says:

    Franken Salmon- GMO- has been reviewed by the FDA as a “drug”…so forgive me, but how are we to trust the FDA to have a clue about food ?

    The grim track record FDA has – on pushing drugs on everybody – what does FDA know about good food ?

    FDA says – in spite of SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE – that GMO nutritional value is the same as ORGANIC food ? – And we are to trust them to run school nutrition program ? I can already hear the kachink “a side order of statins, bit of baby Tylenol, sprinkle with a bit of Rittalin, and you are good to go”…

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  3. Geraldine says:

    It would be ideal if they would keep GMO’s out of the kids school lunch but I highly doubt it. I just recently learned it’s in our food since 1996. Most people still don’t know and are told it’s been in our food for thousands of years. People dont always understand this is nonsense because sure in the old days people had their natural selection or choice so the dominant traits won out slowly not in a lab klike they want to fool people with their big scientific mumbo jumbo that is so much baloney. I read one GMO pusher say people have been genetically engineering food for 10,000 years. I guess 10,000 years ago people had cars and computers too LOL. They say people who don’t agree are unscientific when we have the common sense and morals they lack. They are selling out our earth and can never duplicate the wisdom of the Great Creator in their science lab. Don’t they care or realize their grandchildren will suffer the ugly consequences if not them?

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  4. Ana Carreon says:

    I really don’t see this being an effective campaign, although I am all for signing things I believe in. We need more healthy food for kids, but unfortunately they are eating GMOs already, and their parents are feeding them GMOs, and they are in the restaurant foods that are available to everyone everywhere. The issue of GMOs is one we need to keep working on, but organic is important too, and we can’t expect the government to give our kids organic food. I mean, really, what does this say about natural health enthusiasts? Are we out to lunch or what?

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  5. Lou says:

    We can no more trust ‘government’ to tell us what to eat than we can trust ‘government’ to stop the largely “vaccine” induced AUTISM epidemic.

    Government even REFUSES to acknowledge there is an autism epidemic.

    How many of these kids ‘government’ is so concerned about has or will get autism?

    Shame, shame, shame

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  6. USDA, you already know that if you prioritize ORGANIC in school lunches you’d have healthier kids. Need I say more?

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  7. Will they be discussing the lack of nutrition found in Genetically Engineered food? Likely no. Will they be discussing the need to label such food? Again, likely no. Sowhat will they be telling the people of this nation about the food served in the cafeterias in our schools? Certainly not the truth.

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  8. Don Newsom says:

    Hi,
    I have a neighbor 2 doors down that is a genic scientist. He works for Pioneer Seed. He’s been working on corn and soy beans altering them. And it takes years to get the job done and traveling to foreign countries all over the world. They actually blast a different gene or a herbaside into the corn or what ever they are working on. Then he says there are certain triggers that can be turned on or off, and they seem to know how to do it. Last summer this guy came home from a meal out with his wife and neighbors, fell down on his back pourch and couldn’t get up. He is in his 50’s. Wife came home found him. Long story short they hauled him into the hospital, he blew 4.0 on the booze meter. He shopuld have been dead. They treated him for achol poisioning. And sent him home. A couple of days later talking to his wife, she said she didn’t think he was a drunk just a abuser of booze.

    Why I said this, because it is tipocal of people in the athouritave slots in our nation. The politicians are all screwed up also selling us down the drain on everything they touch!!!! Either taking bribs and who knows what all, would like to see some of there Swiss bank accounts, and I’m sure each and every one has one. GMO foods should be banded as foreign countries won’t buy it from us. As they cause all kinds of health problems for the world population.
    Don M Newsom

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  9. Susie Cassens says:

    Are these the yahoos that gave us the infamous Food Pyramid…I’m not friggin’ impressed. Everybody is fat as cows. Yes, let them eat cake…not. Ok…so as usual the government wants to try this out on the poor folk. Once again I’m not impressed. OMG

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  10. Any agency that isn’t up on the “science” of GMO, such as the USDA appears not to have read, has no business being involved in planning what children will or will not be eating. This is an agency that has NOT done the jobs for which it was paid, who consistently support AgraBiz over smaller, more conscious farms that both care for their animals and plants and also care for their consumers than Big Farms ever will. GM food was idiotic from day one, and those who can’t see the damage so clearly spelled out for us in failed crops, increased requirements for pesticides/herbicides that damage our environment and our health, ruin our water supplies and our land and are responsible for crop failures of a magnitude that now shows up as food insecurity in the world. Sure, lots of money changed hands, but at the expense of lots of people hurt. Monsanto and buddies are important, and in fact, operate as corporate criminals without conscience. Government’s even thinking of passing that on (for the money they reap behind closed doors) surely has no respect for its citizens and no remorse for the damage it does to even its child-citizens. For shame on both.

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  11. EUGENE J MARTIN says:

    STOP and think about future generations, we are guinei pigs but they will suffer for generations to come .I Look at all the mistakes already made in my 66 years on earth. ozone layer, atomic bomb testing, air polution ,water pollution massive oil spills just to name a few. lets not rush into chemical foods

       0 likes

  12. Janna Wiedemann says:

    School lunches should be of proper amounts for kids so we are not over-populated with obesity here in the USA.

       0 likes

  13. Denise Benson says:

    No GMOs please and thank you!!

       0 likes

  14. Beverly Long says:

    12 million more people should be able to receive this procedure if this will assist those to lose waight.
    I also agree to upgrade school lunches..
    Congress does not know medicines I do not agree with congres telling F

       0 likes

  15. Aaron Peter Gordon says:

    Take care of people not de-care

       0 likes

    • Lou says:

      Help people to LIVE long healthy lives. Not cause people to live miserable disease ridden lives.

      GMO “foods” may kill much like cancer IMO

         0 likes

  16. Melody Horner says:

    I sent the message to the USDA. Please send me some references with information about GMOs. If a reference is accurate, I can look it up on either:
    http://www.researchgate.net
    or
    PubMed.gov

    Thanks, Melody T. Horner, Certified Nutritionist

    P.S. I am not a Registered Dietician. Can you give me a job lead for an afternoon part-job working in the Nutrition field? My areas would be Santa Monica, Culver City, and Marina del Rey?

       0 likes

  17. isobel says:

    Your message here seems incoherent. For instance, if we should drink milk rather than soy, why are you upset that the “Dairy Management arm” of the USDA (I have no idea why you call it a “marketing arm”–could you explain?) actively pushes milk? Especially given your concern about the damage soy milk may do to children?

    Your point about butter and coconut oil is accurate–there are ingredients in both that are good for people (as there are in milk and soy, and most food substances apart from refined sugars), but both butter and coconut oil are very bad for people with high cholesterol and family history of strokes. My would it be preferable to the super-food olive oil, which adds good fats and good cholesterol and is active against “bad” cholesterol?

    The sloppiness of this letter does not add up to much as indictment of the USDA, though I’m perfectly willing to believe the USDA may be corrupt.

       0 likes

    • Mel says:

      If you read the sentence surrounding the “Dairy Management” bit, you’ll get the context. It’s not saying we should drink soy instead of dairy, it’s saying that for all of the bad things the USDA says about fat and cholesterol, they’re pushing milk and cheese (sources of fat and cholesterol). The confusion comes from the USDA’s own contradictory actions, not the way in which this article presents them.

      Also, if they’re actively pushing a certain kind of food (and it’s referred to as a “marketing arm” because they are marketing the dairy products to restaurants and food service businesses, they cannot possibly be impartial when it comes to setting guidelines. If you have a direct interest in selling more cheese, it’s pretty likely you’re going to make sure those school lunches involve a lot of cheese, see?

         1 likes

    • del says:

      While I agree it is important to improve school meals for our children, it is important also to thoroughly investigate all sources. Since Monsanto has now been given control of alfalfa one must ask, what animals eat alfalfa. The answer is dairy cows so, now not only our children, but the American population will be forced (unknowingly) to drink genetically engineered milk, cheese etc.

      It is time we took a stand, as Europe has and, by demanding labelling, eliminated genetically engineered foods.

         0 likes

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