Today the government is releasing new nutrition standards for school meals that spell out dramatic changes, including slashing sodium, limiting calories and offering students a wider variety and larger portions of fruits and vegetables. These changes will raise the nutrition standards for meals for the first time in more than 15 years.
“When we send our kids to school, we expect that they won’t be eating the kind of fatty, salty, sugary foods that we try to keep them from eating at home,” first lady Michelle Obama said in a statement. She is announcing the new standards today along with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack..
Vilsack says this is a historic opportunity “to improve the quality and quantity of the school meal programs.”
The quality of school meals has been hotly debated for years because one-third of children in the USA are overweight or obese. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set new nutrition standards for all food served in schools. The rules released today apply to school meals; regulations for other foods such those served in à la carte lines, vending machines and stores will come later.
The changes are designed to improve the health of nearly 32 million children who eat lunch at school every day and almost 11 million who eat breakfast.
THIS summer’s weather may be a let-down, but Sydneysiders can enjoy some of the lowest fruit and vegetable prices in years.
”You better believe it … I’m selling four mangoes for $5. Last year it was two for $5,” said Frank Vecchio, owner of the Wynyard Park fruit stand in Sydney’s CBD. In his 20 years of business, Mr Vecchio said he has not seen such quantities of produce at fruit and vegetable wholesale markets.
The chief executive officer of NSW Chamber of Fruit and Vegetable Industries, Colin Gray, said the oversupply was caused by a decline in consumer demand due to the recent unseasonal wet weather. Consequently, wholesale and retail prices have fallen.
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”The problem with the weather is that people are not buying as much, not enjoying barbecues with the fruit and salad bowls,” Mr Gray said.
In particular, the cooler weather has not enthused customers to buy traditional summer fruits such as mangoes, stone fruits and watermelons, according to Bill Chalk, wholesaler and partner of Southern Cross Produce.
He said wholesale prices for mangoes were $1-$2 per kilo compared with $5 per kilo last year and white peaches were $1-$1.50 per kilo, the lowest in years.
”The lower prices are a great thing for the public but it’s heartbreaking for the farmers,” said Mr Chalk,
by Diana Duff
Special To West Hawaii Today
Those of us in attendance at the November Kona Town Meeting on food sustainability were not surprised to see Ken Love as one of the speakers. A vigilant supporter of “buying local” and a long-time champion of growing exotic fruit for local consumption, his low blood pressure was obviously raised as he talked about the charade he finds in some local stores. Sellers anxious to join the “buy local” campaign are sometimes stretching the limits and confusing consumers who really want to eat food grown as close to home as possible.
Ken’s main prop was a box of “Hawaii Ginger” with “Produce of China” in smaller type on the same box. “So, is this local produce?” he asked. A resounding “no” echoed through the Makaeo Events Pavilion.
Ken advised those present to look for the COOL, or Country of Origin Label, stickers on produce. These can help you choose fruit and vegetables grown in locations that match your buying preferences. If you don’t see the stickers, ask for them.
Research shows that consumers often prefer locally grown produce, but they can be confused if produce is labeled incorrectly or not at all. Shoppers looking for local products are often deceived by misleading signage. Locally grown crops need to be marked clearly and correctly. “Hawaii Grown” stickers could really help.