Since fall 2013, the Department of Education has phased out at least 24 objectionable items. But at least 12 remained through the summer, such as pizza and chicken patties that contained more sodium than a four-piece order of McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, or chemicals like azodicarbonamide — a controversial “foaming agent” found in yoga mats.
“We have to change the way we do things,” warned nutritionist Dr. Joel Fuhrman. “Soda, sugar and white flour can lead to addictive consumption, and the low-nutrient foods we’re feeding children can lead to decreased intelligence, aggressive behavior, and increased risk of depression and chronic illnesses.”
Food Educator Dr. Susan Rubin said the DOE has dragged its feet on eliminating all of the items because process food is cheaper and the powers-that-be are still driven by money: “Until we start to set real standards for ingredient integrity, that’s how the game is going to be played,” she said.
But the DOE said the changes will in fact go into effect as early as the 2014 fall school year: “The DOE has been ahead of the curve to ensure healthy meals are available,” said DOE spokeswoman Marge Feinberg. “We are working to continually improve the food options in our schools.”
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