Trashed: Study finds students toss veggies mandated by federal school lunch program
Fox News 28 August 2015
Public schools are continuing to serve the federally mandated fruits and vegetables, but a new study claims the fresh produce is going into trash cans more than tummies.
Since 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has implemented a requirement – widely championed by First Lady Michelle Obama – that children must select either a fruit or vegetable for school lunches subsidized by the federal government. However, a new report published this week by researchers at the University of Vermont found that even though students did add more fruits and vegetables to their plates, as the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act” enforces, “children consumed fewer [fruits and vegetables] and wasted more during the school year immediately following implementation of the USDA rule.”
The report, entitled “Impact of the National School Lunch Program on Fruit and Vegetable Selection,” noted that average waste increased from a quarter cup to more than one-third of a cup per tray. Observing students at two northeastern elementary schools during more than 20 visits to each, researchers took photos of students’ trays after they chose their items, as they were exiting the lunch line and again as they went by the garbage cans.
“The architects of the Act want their children and schoolchildren across America to eat healthy, hearty meals,” Joe Colangelo, director of the product testing and consumer advocacy organization Consumers’ Research, told FoxNews.com. “Unfortunately, our government does not have a perfect record of influencing the eating habits of American citizens.”