Before leaving Washington for the holidays, more than a dozen House Democrats stood in front of the USDA headquarters on the Mall to register their opposition to Trump administration regulations that would eliminate food stamps for 3.7 million people. Rules Committee chairman Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, one of the foremost defenders of SNAP, raised the possibility of a congressional lawsuit against the cuts.
In Jennifer E. Gaddis’s new book, The Labor of Lunch: Why We Need real Food and Real Jobs in American Public Schools, school lunch is the framework for serious thinking about politics and people power. Gaddis makes the case that to reform school food, we need better working conditions and pay for cafeteria workers in addition to more nutritious ingredients. I asked Gaddis, an assistant professor of civil society and community studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to discuss the pillars of her research and how school food policy should move forward.(No paywall)
Participation in the Women Infants and Children program has plummeted by 25 percent this decade, reaching the point that only 3 of every 5 eligible people apply for the supplemental food and health care referrals offered to low-income pregnant women, new mothers and their offspring up to age 5. In a report issued today, the anti-hunger Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) spelled out dozens of ways for government agencies, grocers, schools and nutrition activists could remove barriers and maximize enrollment.
The Department of Agriculture issued a proposed rule Friday that would ease the standards for how many and what types of products food retailers must stock in order to accept SNAP benefits at their stores. An Obama-era rule had expanded the amount of healthy foods that retailers had to stock in order to participate in the program.
Breakfast participation rates at U.S. schools rose in the 2017-18 school year, and a report issued Wednesday by the Food Research & Action Center attributed that increase to decisions by schools to serve breakfast in classrooms and to offer meals to all pupils free of charge.
Compared to the long-established school lunch program, after-school programs that provide snacks or supper to pupils are tiny. In fact, just 1.2 million suppers, versus 30 million lunches, are served in school each day.
Roughly 37 percent of U.S. adults eat fast food daily, says a CDC analysis of dietary data, but the rate is much higher for men and women aged 20-39 and for higher-income people. "Fast food consumption has been associated with increased intake of calories, fat, and sodium," says the CDC, which estimates adult Americans get 11 percent of their calories from fast food.
A new report from the Food Research and Action Center found that the food hardship rate for households across the country has increased from 15.1 percent in 2016 to 15.7 percent in 2017. The rate increase was higher for households with children, from 17.5 percent to 18.4 percent. The study comes as wages remain stagnant, despite falling unemployment.
The biggest threat to school lunch and school breakfast, the federally funded programs that feed more than 30 million pupils daily, is legislation that doesn't exist at the moment but could easily be proposed as a deficit-cutting tool, says the School Nutrition Association. The group, which speaks for school food directors, put opposition to block grants at the top of its list of congressional goals this year.