TAKE ACTION NOW!
COMMENTS DUE APRIL 9, 2013 FOR PROPOSED NUTRITION STANDARDS FOR COMPETITIVE FOODS
(those outside the meal programs)
The Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act (CNR) passed in December of 2010. In order to help it pass, since it was put off for a year (it should have passed in 2009), it was renamed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. This law is renewed every 5 years, and regulates the school meal and other federal feeding programs. It contains provisions for regulations to be made (Congress would not have the expertise to make and include these regulations in the law itself) regarding school meals and all other food for sale in schools.
In January of 2012, regulations for were put forth for school meals. Comments from the public were taken and the regulations became final and were implemented in schools across the country in September of 2012.
The “National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program: Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in School as Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010” for the law were put forth in February of 2013. These standards, to clarify, are for “competitive” foods, which means foods sold outside of the meal programs. This is required under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act) that passed in 2010 in order to assure that all foods in schools were on a “level playing field” and that foods outside of the meal program didn’t have different standards than foods that are part of the meal program.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants comments from the public about the this proposed rule.
This is our chance to make a difference. Please don't delay - submit your comments today - the deadline is Tuesday, April 9th, 2013!
Submit comments on the regulations here
(you can submit comments of up to 2000 characters
and/or upload a document.)
Click here for a sample letter that you can modify
and upload to the above link.
Comments are due no later than
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013.
In your comments, please ask the USDA to address/include the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA) recommendations in the final regulations for competitive foods and to add these additional points. Reference to the NANA recommendations and these points are all included in the sample letter link above. The points below include additional information for your benefit that is not included in the sample letter.
- Just because a food label is low in fat, sugar, or sodium does not make it healthy. The food industry will create processed foods that meet these requirements, and that doesn’t make them healthy. Fruits, veggies, and whole grain products that meet the nutrition standards should be made available and are encouraged to be made available under the new rule.
- Dairy is not a health food. Even if it’s low fat, there are problems with milk protein, and most of the world’s population can’t digest milk sugars, especially persons of color. Non-dairy milks should be required to be offered and available for any students to purchase. 60% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant, especially persons of color. Children end up with belly aches and discomfort and find it hard to study, and don't even know it's caused by something they may consume at every meal and oftentimes for snacks. A non-dairy equivalent should regularly be available to all students. The dairy recommendations in the regulations are a result of dairy industry lobbying, and are not based on what is best for health. For years, research has proven that dairy does not result in stronger bones and as a result the FDA no longer allows the dairy industry to advertise that milk/dairy builds strong bones.
- Exemptions for fat should be made for nuts or nut butters without added fats or sugars, but should not be made for reduced fat cheeses (which are actually high fat) or seafood (which is not environmentally sustainable and can contain high levels of heavy metals).
- It appears that high schools would be allowed to offer beverages containing artificial sweeteners. Beverages allowed in high schools should not be allowed to contain artificial sweeteners. These ingredients do not support good health and would appear to be allowed only to appease the beverage industry. In addition, because sodas containing sweeteners will no longer be allowed, this will result in many high school students now consuming artificial sweeteners that previously did not. According to Harvard Medical School, problems associated with artificial sweeteners include fooling the body by over stimulating the sugar receptors and changing how food tastes – and making healthy nutritive foods seem less sweet and satisfying, thus causing users to seek out other sugar laden foods. While students may not be able to access such foods at school, they may then go home and make up the difference there.
- Ask that 100% of grains be Whole Grain, not “Whole Grain Rich”. “Whole grain rich” means that only 50% of grains must be whole grain. We should not be offering refined grains to students in school. The “whole grain rich” recommendation is due to grain industry lobbying and is not based on what is best for health.
- Eliminate all artificial ingredients: artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and high fructose corn syrup. These ingredients are the hallmarks of processed foods. They do nothing to contribute to health, and their main purpose is for corporate profit - replacing the color and flavor lost by processing foods, allowing them to be shelf stable for long periods of time, trick customers into thinking they will be aided in losing weight, and providing a cheap sweetener, respectively.
- Eliminate ALL transfats. The rule states that the nutrition label or manufacturer specs must state "0" grams per serving. However, due to food industry influence, "0" grams per serving actually means up to 1/2 gram per serving. How do you know if a food contains transfat? Look on the ingredient list for the words "partially hydrogenated". Our request is to eliminate all "partially-hydrogenated" oils from competitive foods.
Please submit your comments now. Thank you for your attention to this very important matter.
The law passed in December of 2010, but without strong nutrition standards for competitive foods, it won't create the change we need to change the course of our children’s health. Please submit your comments today! Your chance to comment will be gone after Tuesday (4/9/2013)
It is most important to submit you comments through the links above. After submitting your comments, it is helpful if you also educate your elected officials about these issues, and let them know what changes you’d like to see.
New York Residents*, call:
Senator Kirstin Gillibrand: 202-224-4451 (Washington, DC) and 212-688-6262 (NY) - to thank and express concerns
Senator Charles Schumer: 202-224-6542 (Washington, DC) and 212-486-4430 (NY) - to thank and express concerns
Your Congress Person: (for NYS or other states) : Click for phone number and to email.
* If you live outside of NYS, you can contact your Senators here.
After you call, please follow up with an email letter to your Senators and Congressperson. We want to flood their telephone lines and email boxes!
You can see a sample letter here. You can get the email address or contact forms for your Senators or Congress Person by clicking on the links above.
When you are done doing this be sure to share this link with all of your friends, relatives, and colleagues who care about this issue. Please also email us by clicking here to let us know you called.
No current school food legislation to act on.
At the local level, you can get involved in your schools Local Wellness Policy effort.
Each school that participates in the federal school meal program must have a federally mandated Local Wellness Policy, which includes ongoing efforts to ensure implementation. Many schools have committees that address the policies mandates, while many other schools do not. Creating change in school only happens because people like you who care get involved.
Ted Barnett, MD, makes a statement of concern at the 2008 NYS PTA Convention
Stepping Up to A Healthier Harlem Conference Attendee signs up for the NYCHSF email list
Real Food Display at Baum Forum Conference