school food

New York

City Council members call on city to make school food healthier

Chancellor Dennis Walcott with students in the garden at Brooklyn's P.S. 295, which is participating in the "Garden to Cafe" program, on the first day of school. The Department of Education has done an admirable job of adding more healthy school lunch options. But more changes — and faster ones — are needed to keep children healthy, according to two City Council members who are sponsoring a resolution to improve school food. In the last few years, the Office of SchoolFood has added more vegetarian options and swapped out some ingredients for healthier alternatives. But Brad Lander and Gale Brewer, City Council members from Park Slope and the Upper West Side, think more could be done. "Despite these improvements, critics note that school meals still contain too many “processed” food items, such as breaded chicken nuggets, as well as foods that contain less healthy ingredients, including high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring and saturated fats, such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches," says their resolution, which they are formally proposing today. Lander and Brewer want the city to adopt recommendations made recently by the Brooklyn Food Coalition, a group of food and food justice organizations. Among other things, they want 10 percent of food served in schools to be produced locally and schools to go meatless at least one day a week. They also want the city to be required to publish ingredient lists for food served in schools — something that the department has not always done. When nutrition facts were inadvertently published in 2010, they showed that some food served in cafeterias did not meet the city’s own nutrition guidelines for school bake sale snacks.
New York

City blocks access to nutrition information, says a list is coming

What you can no longer find on the DOE's website: nutritional information, including sugar content, on the chocolate milk served in city school cafeterias. This screen shot was taken earlier today, before the site was blocked. The ingredients inside the city's school cafeteria food are once again a mystery. Hours after GothamSchools published a link to a list of school cafeteria food ingredients today, the city removed it, claiming that the list was never meant to be public. The fact that the public could briefly bypass a city firewall to reach a nutritional directory was first reported today by GothamSchools Community section contributor Elizabeth Puccini and WE ACT for Environmental Justice’s James Subudhi. (Puccini previously posted the link on the site of NYC Green Schools, a group she founded.) The directory revealed that some food served in cafeterias does not meet the city's own nutrition guidelines it set last year for bake sale snacks. The directory included ingredient lists and nutritional information for more than 300 items served in public school cafeterias. The link now directs to a message that reads, "The resource you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable." Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said the directory was an internal link to a website the city is building that will eventually publish nutrition information, but that it will not release the information it has already collected now. "There is no list and never was," Feinberg said. "We are creating one."