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Category: Food Stamps

House committee passes 'Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act'

KIDDOS Everyone from Top Cheffers to Jamie Oliver to Michelle Obama agrees that our nation's school lunch program is hungry for change. And it's no wonder such prominent figures are ready for the next course of action, given that 1 in 5 children are obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Thursday the "Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act"  was passed by the House Education and Labor Committee, bringing the nation's kids one bite closer to the possibility of more nutritious meals.

The act aims to improve access to school lunch programs, help schools improve the quality of meals by adding a 6-cent-per-child increase in budget, encourage partnerships with local farms, allow unused food to be donated to food banks, increase access to healthful food outside school hours and improve food safety and integrity. (For a full rundown of the stipulations, click here.) It allots $8 billion over 10 years to achieve those goals, quite a bit more than the $4.5 billion proposed by the Senate Agriculture Committee's Child Nutrition Bill passed in March.

"From our view [the Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act] is really the best child nutrition bill that we've ever had. It includes stronger nutrition standards and grants for farm-to-school programs," says Gordon Jenkins, program manager at Slow Food USA. "The amount of funding however, is very modest at the $.06 addition to the current $2.68, which leaves only about $1 for ingredients. It won't be enough to make a significant change. That can be modified on the floor if Congress hears it's important enough."

Both bills have now reached the floor and need to be passed by their respective chambers and reconciled before they can become law. 

Jenkins says it's important that the debate be scheduled soon, though. School lunches will be on the back burner during the month of August since Congress is on recess, and the current bill expires in September. "Last year, they had to pass a temporary one-year extension, putting the schools' programs in status quo. The schools will be encouraged but will not have funding. What it really means is that the bill will have to be rewritten and reintroduced again."

Michelle Obama issued a statement urging the House and Senate to take their child nutrition bills to the floor and pass them without delay. "The President looks forward to signing a final bill this year, so that we can make significant progress in improving the nutrition and health of children across our nation.”

-- Krista Simmons

Photo: Kids at Larchmont Charter showing off their school garden-grown tomatoes. Credit: Krista Simmons


Sampler Platter: bacon candle, food stamps, cheesecake and sugary cereals

Residents gather outside the Sonic Drive-In after a tornado destroyed parts of Newton, Miss. in 2002.

Food stamps and fancy restaurants, bacon candles and racist cookies -- it's a tale of two worlds in today's food news roundup.
--Gwyneth Paltrow's L.A. restaurant picks: Church and State, Gjelina, Shima, Madeo, Cecconi’s, Tavern, Animal, Osteria La Buca, Yong Su San, the Best Fish Taco in Enseneda, La Estrella Taco Truck, Kogi, Varnish. Goop
--Several sites are giving away pairs of tickets to Great Chefs of L.A., a benefit that happens on Nov. 8 for the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California.
--Costco to accept food stamps nationally. L.A. Times
--Living close to food is good for your waistline. Salt Lake Tribune
--Troy Smith, founder of Sonic drive-in chain, dies. Baltimore Sun
--UN delivers food aid by text message to Iraqi refugees in Syria. The Telegraph
--Sugariest cereals for kids get advertised the most. Consumerist
--Offensive Creole Creme cookies removed from Australian stores. 9News
--Chef Rick Gresh of David Burke’s Primehouse in Chicago brings his edible bacon fat candle to NYC. Gothamist
--Cheesecake? C'mon, what are New Yorkers really eating? New York Times
--Moderate amounts of protein, rather than a lot, might be best for muscle. Booster Shots
--Former combat marine turned chef serves up meals for seniors as a way of giving back to community. New York Daily News

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Residents gather outside the Sonic Drive-In after a tornado destroyed parts of Newton, Miss. in 2002. Credit: Rogelio Solis / AP

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.