Jamie Oliver, TV’s the naked chef, famously campaigned for healthier school meals in the UK after discovering the unhealthy nature of the meals and being disgusted by the severe lack of healthy alternatives. He created a successful British TV show which documented his efforts as he took over the cooking for a school in Greenwich. Surprisingly, the campaign was successful and changed the types of food British schools offered.
He later tried to do the same thing in here in America, but received roadblock after roadblock and eventually his TV show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, was canned.
Recently a bill was put forth to congress trying to increase the healthiness of school lunches. Among other things, it wanted to limit the amount of potatoes and sodium offered, encourage the use of whole grains, and disallow pizza from being classified as a vegetable. But Congress “reformed” the bill unraveling all of those efforts.
“Why?” do you ask? Special interests of course: specifically, the potato growers and frozen food makers who have heavy influence in congress via lobbying. Kraig Naasz, president of the American Frozen Food Institute, was quoted as saying, "This agreement ensures that nutrient-rich vegetables such as potatoes, corn and peas will remain part of a balanced, healthy diet in federally funded school meals and recognizes the significant amounts of potassium, fiber and vitamins A and C provided by tomato paste, ensuring that students may continue to enjoy healthy meals such as pizza and pasta." Which, frankly, is out right weird. French fries and pizza do not a healthy meal make. Even grade-schoolers know this, who, unfortunately, will continue to get fat off of them while congress continues to get fat off of corporate money.