Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Weight Loss

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: Oaxacan quesadillas, spaghetti hot dogs & jalapeno-pear cocktails

Organic strawberries

Midweek food bites...

  • In honor of Earth Day, a list of the fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides. Clean Plate Charlie
  • 5 ways to save on organic food. Consumer Reports
  • Thierry Perez, co-owner of Fraiche and Riva, has left to open his own restaurant in Culver City. It will be called Ben Fatto. Eater LA
  • Freaky food fun: insert dried spaghetti into hot dogs, then boil. Boing Boing
  • Pleasure Palate checks out an Echo Park street cart featuring Oaxacan quesadillas with blue corn tortillas.
  • Strangest drink ever? The jalapeno-pear caipiroska. Umami Mart
  • Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats won't make my kids smarter? Yahoo! News
  • Downsize Me: Man loses 15 pounds eating only McDonald's for 30 days. Daily Mail

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Elina Shatkin

Sampler Platter: Curry summit, National Beer Day, Cat Cora and the MIT chocolate lab

Jungle curry with pork at Jitlada Thai Restaurant in Hollywood. (Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)

A big, fat, juicy dose of food news...

  • Inside MIT's Laboratory for Chocolate Science. Yes, that is a real place. Boston Globe
  • Iron Chef Cat Cora's partner, Jennifer, gives birth to the couple's third child. Cora is expecting the couple's fourth child in June. Huffington Post
  • Chefs at British "curry summit" call for national college dedicated to Indian cookery. Guardian
  • Opening of Dean & Deluca in Fashion Island in Newport Beach delayed until 2010. Stick A Fork In It
  • LA Mill in Silver Lake sits on top of microquake epicenter. LAist
  • Brewers and politicians join forces to call for National Beer Day in the U.K. The Herald
  • Obesity kills more Americans than terrorism. Consumerist
  • Do healthful eating options on a menu actually make people eat less healthfully? New York Times
  • Legislators consider banning trans-fats in … Texas?! Business Week
  • West Virginia kills a bill requiring restaurants to post nutritional info. Forbes
  • The bakers from "Ace of Cakes" build a Hubble-themed dessert to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Goddard Space Flight Center. Fox News

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Jungle curry with pork at Jitlada Thai restaurant in Hollywood. (Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times).

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.