At a time when Michelle Obama is under widespread criticism for complicity with the food industry (see Fed Up!, the movie), she and her Let’s Move! staff are doing everything possible—openly and overtly—to preserve the nutrition standards in the school meals program.
As I’ve written previously, a House subcommittee voted to allow schools to waive the new standards. Waivers mean that Congress is interfering—on political grounds—with nutrition standards established by scientific committees of the Institute of Medicine.
Here’s what the White House is doing:
- Getting the USDA to speak out: Today, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack is hosting a media call at 1:00 p.m. to discuss protection of the nutrition standards.
- Breaking the ranks of the School Nutrition Association (SNA), a school food service group heavily funded by food companies. SNA is on record as favoring the waivers. But, as Politico reports, 19 past presidents of SNA have just written Congress to oppose the waivers.
- Meeting with school nutrition leaders: “The last thing we can afford to do right now is play politics with our kids’ health,” Obama said to a roundtable that included a half-a-dozen nutrition leaders. “Our kids deserve so much better than that” (her speech)
- Making calls to members of Congress (Politico, May 22)
- Encouraging media coverage (MSNBC, May 22)
- Gearing up to go public in defense of the standards (ObamaFoodorama, May 23)
- Making it clear that this is about politics (Politico, May 26)
- Taking action (Washington Post, May 26)
- Getting the military involved as a matter of national security (Hagstrom report, May 27). Hagstrom links to:
It’s impressive that the White House is taking on this issue so forcefully.
Support the Let’s Move! staff. Sign CSPI’s Change.Org petition and write your legislators. They are discussing this issue right now. Tell them now!