Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Q&A Ingredient Transparency petition

I recently made a guest post on Fed up with School Lunch (thanks Mrs. Q!)- and as I was reading through the comments I realized there were a couple aspects of the ingredient transparency movement that needed to be addressed. So thanks to all who posted comments on my guest blog! I really appreciated the support and ideas.

What about getting the calorie content and other nutritional information?

Aramark actually added a cafeteria food nutritional calculator to their District 300 site shortly after I spoke at the board meeting. A few weeks later they presented it to the board, suggesting that they were giving me exactly what I was looking for. However, I made it very clear to them that that simply wasn't the case. It very well may be a law that they have to present nutritional information, but ingredients are not required.

Can I get the ingredient information directly from the cafeteria workers?
I don't know. I haven't asked. Simply because I do not want to create more work for them, or get any of them in trouble. Not only that, but I am a senior at my school. If I spent the time putting together a booklet of facts this year myself, who would do it next year? Who would see that the information was updated when a brand switched? This is a policy change that needs to be enacted to last.

If the school food is this bad, can't you bring a lunch from home?
Yes! And I do. It's difficult being a vegetarian and eating at school as it is, let alone trying to eat something that won't send me into a food-coma for the following hours. However, many of the students at my school do not have that choice. We have a very large population of lower income kids that either eat the lunch or don't eat at all. Ingredient transparency obviously won't solve the food-coma epidemic, but it is a step in illuminating the cause. And hopefully after we get the ingredients out there, the students who are making the choice to buy will start bringing instead. If Aramark saw a drop in sales, they would be forced to cater to those individuals who wish the see their meals high-fructose corn syrup free.


  1. I was just looking up info on Aramark... and here's some sad and scary news (that you might have found on your own, but just in case):

    "A food service worker in Michigan was apparently fired [by Aramark] for reporting on unsanitary conditions, including rat droppings and mice in refrigerators. There were no other indications of misconduct or discipline on the part of the worker."


    So yeah...

  2. Tara- the world (and your school district) need more people like you getting involved and making a difference. Do not be discouraged and keep on blogging about your quest.

    It is dissapointing and scary the both the school administration and the food purveyor dismiss your requests for information or any attempts to improve menu choices.

    May I make a suggestion? Please write to your state representatives for support. But most importantly write to Michelle Obama. Let her know what you've been working on.

  3. Tara, I love that you are doing this! It gives me great hope for your generation.

    I teach at a school where OVER 97% of the students have low enough income at home to qualify for free lunch and breakfast. That means they cannot afford to eat either meal at home, and are depending on OUR SCHOOL to feed them 2/3 of their meals!! We cannot keep asking kids to just bring their own lunches. We need to get accountability and transparency so your generation can be healthy enough to care for my generation someday, and the ones that follow you.

    And I agree with CJ. Write to Michelle Obama.