A recent report by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine concludes that much of the food that American children are getting in the meals they buy at school is unhealthy. In particular the authors note that more and more school children are eating pizza through their school lunches that is laden with cholesterol and saturated fat. Children receiving free food at school through Federal programs are eating fattening and unhealthy food on a daily basis, according to the report.
Selling the food that goes into school lunches is big business. Giant food companies like Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride can sell their products directly to the USDA who then turn around and resell it to school districts.
Or, the schools can buy food from private food companies as long as the food complies with federal nutrition standards. According to the report, these standards are lax. Fattening foods including corn dogs and chicken bits can be sold to the schools.
What’s more, according to the report, many private food companies are marketing their foods as being healthy for children when they are not. the Physicians Committee looked at advertisements meant to be seen by members of the School Nutrition Association, a trade group for the school district representatives who decide what foods to buy school children. They found that many claims in magazine ads of nutrition were wildly exaggerated. For example, Pizza Hut claims in an ad that its pizza is healthy simply because it has whole wheat crust.