With the Federal rules requiring students to eat a fresh diet, which includes one fruit and one vegetable per meal – Los Angeles school district alone has an estimated amount of waste that is at an alarming high of $100,000 a day. Solutions are being sought to reduce the food waste at schools, but as a part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the requirements impose a dizzying array of requirements on calories, portion sizes, even the color of fresh diet foods like fruits and vegetables to be served. The extra produce cost on school districts is $5.4 million a day, estimating a waste of $3.8 million dollars being tossed in the trash.
In efforts for a solution to this issue the school board voted to allow non-profits to pick up the extra food under the federal Good Samaritan food law, but not enough schools participate to solve the massive waste problem.
Nationally, the cost of wasted food overall is estimated at more than $1 billion annually. With the widespread concern the School Nutrition Assn., prompted to launch lobbying efforts to revise the child nutrition law, (which is up for reauthorization next year). The group wants to remove the requirements forcing students to take a fruit or vegetable, suspend rules requiring lower sodium, and drop a planned shift from half to full whole grain in food products.
What will the solution to waste be? With America already holding the largest percentage of obesity in children, it would be a pity if the government cares less about the pounds piling on our children than the food piles in school trash cans.
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