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.
TOKYO >> More than 200 farmers brought two cows to Tokyo where they shouted and punched the air Tuesday in a protest to demand compensation for products contaminated by radiation spewing from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant.
The farmers from northeastern Japan wore green bandanas and held signs saying “Nuclear disaster is human disaster” and “Stop nuclear energy” outside the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant damaged in the March 11 tsunami.
Radiation leaking from Fukushima Dai-ichi plant — about 140 miles (220 kilometers) north of Tokyo — has been found in milk, water and leafy vegetables such as spinach from around the plant.
“I could not sit still in Fukushima. I want TEPCO to understand our frustration, anxiety and worries over our future,” said 72-year-old Katsuo Okazaki, who grows peaches and apples. “My patience has run out. The nuclear crisis is totally destroying our farming business,” he said.