Killing Us Softly


Last night, I watched Jamie Oliver sail into the town of Huntington, West Virginia, to commence his food revolution of revamping the menu served to children in schools. It’s an offshoot of his show in England, with a similar initial response from the township: “Get the heck out of our lives, Jamie, things are fine! We don’t see a problem in nearly everyone weighing the same as half a motorcycle, because what we feed our kids for breakfast (cheese pizza) and lunch (chicken nuggets) is working out well (the kids love it), and meeting USDA guidelines. “What is USDA?” asks Jamie, his soggy eyes looking dazed and confused. Actually, Jamie, it stands for the United States Department of Agriculture, who happen to have fashioned a 10-inch binder full of regulations for each “lunch lady” (they prefer to be called cooks, by the way) to review and build a menu on. And luckily, all processed food fit somehow into these guidelines…or do they? This “hands-off” approach, which is also happening in Canada with School Nutrition Policy, is most disturbing to me. A group of government officials who may or may not know anything about food or nutrition gather around, compile the thickest document they can come up with, and send it off to each school board to contend with. And the big question is, is industry at all involved in this process? Are they helping ensure that the products they are selling to schools are meeting USDA or Canadian guidelines? No, they just happen to be off the hook this time around. It’s up to Jamie Oliver, concerned parents, and lunch ladies to pick up the pieces.

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About danirenouf

I have been a registered dietitian since 2003, and very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in industry, clinical nutrition, public health, and private practice. Currently, I am extremely excited about pursuing entrepreneurial ventures which start with my private consulting practice and branch out into the food and culinary industry. I am busy every day developing my own food products and recipes, adapting traditional cooking techniques and incorporating new and innovative ways to prepare nutritious, delicious food. I am passionate about everything food-related, and aspire to engage others in "getting to know their food" - not all of us are cooks, or need to be, but all of us need to eat.
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2 Responses to Killing Us Softly

  1. I watched last night and spent most the of time in shock – who could ever think that food was okay for kids? I think I was most surprised that these kids got lunch at school – if the food the school serves is a nutritional wasteland, shouldn’t parents be sending kids with their own lunches? Based on the resistance of the superintendent, perhaps it would be more efficient to educate the parents than the school board.

    Nice to see you blogging!

    • danirenouf says:

      Thanks for your comments, Kelly. It is always so nice to have the support of other health care professionals, as we all attempt to educate our public about how much control they in fact have. I think many parents put the responsibility of their children’s upbringing to schools (subconsciously most times), whereby they in fact are in the driver’s seat of consumer choice.

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