Commercial Alert filed a petition for rule-making today with the U.S. Department of Agriculture requesting that it strengthen the enforcement of federal rules prohibiting the sale of soda pop and some types of candies in school cafeterias across the country. USDA rules currently prohibit the sale of “foods of minimal nutritional value” during mealtimes in school cafeterias. But the enforcement provisions for these rules are extremely lax, so some schools may not take them seriously.
“We’re asking the USDA to side with parents who want their kids to grow up healthy, not with the junk food companies that want to stuff our children with sugar and caffeine,” said Gary Ruskin, executive director of Commercial Alert. “The USDA should strengthen existing rules against the sale of junk food in school – before the childhood obesity epidemic gets any worse.”
Copies of the petition to USDA for rule-making are available at http://www.commercialalert.org/fmnvpetition.pdf.
USDA admitted last month in a report that it does not know whether schools are complying with prohibitions against the sale of foods of minimal nutritional value during school mealtimes. The report stated, “it is unclear to what extent federal and state regulations [against the sale of foods of minimum nutritional value] are enforced at the local level.”
Foods of minimal nutritional value are defined as soda pop, water ices, chewing gum, and certain types of candies, such as hard candies, jellied candies, licorice and marshmallows.
According to a Wall Street Journal poll in February, 2005, 83% of American adults “believe public schools need to do a better job of limiting children's access to unhealthy foods like snack foods, sugary soft drinks and fast food.”
Commercial Alert is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy. For more information, see our website at http://www.commercialalert.org.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Commercial Alert petitions USDA on sodas in schools
Here is their press release:
Posted 8:40 PM