As a supporter of the national nonprofit Slow Food USA, I believe in food that is good, clean, and fair for all. And as a (Select one: parent, grandparent, teacher, school volunteer, community activist), I am concerned about the health of our school children. This proposed rule would roll back the progress that the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 made in the nutritional quality of school meals.
I believe it is our collective responsibility to provide nutritious school meals to ensure that all our school children are prepared to do their best in school and beyond. The HHFKA was landmark legislation that established the most nutritionally sound guidelines in the history of the National School Lunch Program. The guidelines created a reduction of sodium and saturated fat consumption and significantly increased fruit, vegetable, and whole grain consumption, all good things for the health of our school children.
School districts have done extraordinarily well in implementing HHFKA guidelines. Twenty-eight states achieved 100 percent compliance and no state was below 93 percent compliance. I’m proud to say my state, (Your state), has achieved (Find state compliance here) xx% HHFKA compliance.
The proposed rule is threatening the healthfulness of the food our children are served at school. Colin Schwartz, of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, has said the new rule could pave “the way for children to choose pizza, burgers, french fries and other foods high in calories, saturated fat or sodium in place of balanced school meals every day.”
Anna Mulé, the Executive Director of Slow Food USA, wrote, “We do not provide kids with the “flexibility” to bypass algebra or skip learning about grammar or biology, because we recognize that students need a foundational learning curriculum to be successful. We ask that the same standard be applied in the cafeteria.”
Food consumed at school makes up 50% of many kids’ daily caloric intake and has the potential to set them on a track of healthy eating with innumerous benefits. But students can’t eat healthy if they don’t have the option. I don’t want to see students in my state given fewer healthy options because (add personal message here).
We don’t need a rule to fix what’s not broken, we don’t need to go backwards. I implore the USDA to rescind this proposed rule and stay the course in providing healthy food options to our children. Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the proposed rule, “Simplifying Meal Service and Monitoring Requirements in the NSLP and SBP.”