Posted by: SmithaM | September 25, 2011

School Meals: Nutrition and Costs

Under a little-noticed provision of the child nutrition bill signed by President Obama in December, which brought more fresh produce and less whole milk to cafeterias nationwide, school districts are required to start bringing their prices in line with what it costs to prepare the meals, eventually charging an average of $2.46 for the lunches they serve.

…The mandatory increases in meal prices are “a recognition that over time, the money coming in to schools from the sale of paid meals has not kept pace with the cost of preparing those meals,” said Kevin Concannon, under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services at the Department of Agriculture, which oversees the school meal program.   “The consideration here is the transition and giving school districts time to make the adjustments that they need to serve healthier meals to all our kids.”

But Eric Goldstein, who oversees the New York City schools’ food program, said the law “misses the point.” Price increases threaten to upend the delicate balance of school food operations, Mr. Goldstein said, as they might compel more parents to pack their children’s lunches or to skip on paying cafeteria lunch fees altogether — already a huge problem, with the city absorbing $42 million in unpaid fees since 2004

Read the complete news article.

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