To the Editor:
As a dietician and a mother, I know that healthy school lunches can help children develop good lifelong eating habits. That is why I am appalled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture just announced a plan to fill school lunch lines with millions of pounds of unhealthy, high-fat foods.
To boost hog farmers' income, the USDA will buy $25 million worth of pork and dump it on the National School Lunch Program and other food programs. Huge additional payments will be made to the lamb and turkey producers -- and their products will also end up on children's lunch trays. Meat-heavy diets are fueling the childhood obesity epidemic and raising children's risk of developing cancer, diabetes and heart disease later in life.
We need support for fruits, vegetables and other vegetarian foods that can help children stay slim and avoid chronic diseases. As Congress revises the Child Nutrition Act, we must ensure that healthful school foods are a priority.
Sign the petition today at www.SchoolLunchPetition.org.
Jennifer K. Reilly, R.D.
The Cancer Project,