Non-organic baby food is less toxic than it was 30 years ago, but it still contains pesticides at least 38 percent of the time, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group. EWG researchers noted that federal agencies have made strides in regulating pesticide contamination in baby food, but advised parents and caregivers to use caution at the grocery store.
An additional 20,000 schools in poor neighborhoods would have the option of serving breakfast and lunch for free to all of their students under a proposal by the USDA, a step toward a potential expansion of universal free meals by more than 50 percent. “This is an investment in our youngsters,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday.
A month after the USDA proposed new rules to make school meals healthier, hundreds of school nutrition directors will come to Washington next week to tell lawmakers to reject the stricter standards. The School Nutrition Association, which represents school food workers nationwide, argues that stricter rules will be difficult for schools to meet, as they still face labor shortages and supply chain disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the avian flu epidemic. (No paywall)
School meals should be free for all kids, regardless of their families' incomes, said the School Nutrition Association in a position paper released on Wednesday. Students have racked up $19.2 million in debt for meals they couldn't pay for since the waivers that made school meals universally free during the pandemic expired last spring, said the group.
Far more people on social media support free meals for all public school students than oppose it, 43 percent vs. 3 percent, according to an analysis by Impact Social, an online monitoring company, in collaboration with the food policy publication Food Fix.
In Tuesday's elections, voters will decide several ballot initiatives on food and agricultural issues, including a ban on meat processing facilities in a South Dakota city and the expansion of universal school lunch to Colorado. California voters will determine the fate of a tax on high income earners to pay for green energy and for fighting wildfires, which have cost the state’s agricultural sector tens of millions of dollars.
The number of children participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) increased by 8.7 percent during the first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Food Research & Action Center.
America can end hunger by 2030 by fighting poverty, expanding access to healthy food, and reorienting healthcare toward preventing diet-related diseases, said President Biden on Wednesday. Framing the task in epic terms, he called on government and society to step up. “This could be a giant step,” he said. “This could remind us who the hell we are.” (No paywall)
The White House forfeited its opportunity for a bipartisan outcome of its hunger conference next week, so it should expect open skepticism about its recommendations, said five senior House Republicans on Wednesday.
The Justice Department on Thursday accused 47 people of looting $250 million from the federal child nutrition program by fraudulently claiming to feed thousands of poor children daily in Minnesota during the pandemic. Instead, they allegedly spent the money on cars, houses, jewelry, travel and real estate the United States, Kenya and Turkey in what Attorney General Merrick Garland said was "the largest pandemic relief fraud scheme" yet.
Nearly one of every four Democrats in the House signed a letter to congressional leaders on Thursday, asking for a return to universal free school lunches and breakfasts.
When the government made school meals temporarily free to virtually all public school students in 2020, the intent was to buffer children and families from the spike in hunger and economic hardship caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. It also inadvertently turned out to be a pilot project for something anti-hunger groups had been pushing for years: making school food free, permanently, for all public school students, regardless of income. (No paywall)
The Biden administration on Monday set a date of Sept. 28 for the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in Washington, D.C. The conference will be the first of its kind in more than 50 years.
With the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health weeks away, a broad group of advocates, academics and experts on Tuesday called for "radical systemic changes" in order to address food insecurity, diet-related disease and health inequities.(No paywall)
With a new academic year on the horizon, K through 12 food directors are ready with tricks to keep meals flowing, such as cutting pizza boxes and clamshell containers in half when lunch trays are not available, said a report by the School Nutrition Association on Tuesday. "The supply chain crisis, labor shortages and high costs are a long-term reality for school meal programs," said SNA president Lori Adkins.
Responding to food inflation, the Agriculture Department said it would increase reimbursements to schools by about $1.3 billion for meals served during the 2022/23 academic year compared to the past school year. Schools would receive an additional $3 billion under a school nutrition bill passed by Congress last month.
A crash program to streamline U.S. imports of infant formula has worked so well, the FDA will make it permanent, said agency leaders on Wednesday. The program, which began in May when domestic supplies ran low, has resulted in shipments from nine countries of enough formula to fill 400 million 8-ounce bottles.
The Biden administration said it would provide an additional $943 million in USDA funds to schools so they can purchase American-grown food for their meal programs.