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AlterNet: Why Is Crappy Fast Food Safer Than School Lunches?

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 05:25 PM
Original message
AlterNet: Why Is Crappy Fast Food Safer Than School Lunches?
Why Is Crappy Fast Food Safer Than School Lunches?

Posted by Tara Lohan at 7:20 AM on December 28, 2009.

Thanks to the USDA, at school our kids are eating the equivalent of pet food.




A study by USA Today found that the U.S. government's school lunch program, via the USDA, handed schools millions of pounds of beef and chicken that wouldn't even clear the standards of of fast food restaurants like Jack in the Box and KFC.

The quality of meat in fast food restaurants has always frightened me, but not as much as reading this:

McDonald's, Burger King and Costco, for instance, are far more rigorous in checking for bacteria and dangerous pathogens. They test the ground beef they buy five to 10 times more often than the USDA tests beef made for schools during a typical production day.

And the limits Jack in the Box and other big retailers set for certain bacteria in their burgers are up to 10 times more stringent than what the USDA sets for school beef.

For chicken, the USDA has supplied schools with thousands of tons of meat from old birds that might otherwise go to compost or pet food. Called "spent hens" because they're past their egg-laying prime, the chickens don't pass muster with Colonel Sanders-- KFC won't buy them -- and they don't pass the soup test, either. The Campbell Soup Company says it stopped using them a decade ago based on "quality considerations."


So, our kids are eating food that's about the equivalent of pet food. And a whole lot of kids. The article notes that 31 million students a day eat this meat and "President Obama noted earlier this year that, for many children, school lunches are 'their most nutritious meal -- sometimes their only meal -- of the day,'" which is also frightening.

And it gets worse.

"Each year the USDA purchases more than $1 billion in cheap commodities as part of the federal contribution to the school lunch program," wrote David Murphy for Civil Eats. "Regretfully, the USDA is driven by two factors: get the food for the lowest price and prop up prices for commodities that are in oversupply or are unattractive to business purchases. Not quality. In 2009 alone, the USDA purchased more than $151 million of commodity pork to prop up failing industrial pork producers."

Our children shouldn't be a dumping bin for food waste and a prop for failing agribusiness.


http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/144822/why_is_crappy... /



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virgogal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 05:27 PM
Response to Original message
1. Make your own or the kids' lunch-----cheaper,safer.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Thank you so much for understanding the issue of poverty.
:nuke:
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virgogal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. For God's sake I've been very poor. Good Lord.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Then you ought to know better!!! For God's sake!
Instead of working to better the situation (like progressives do for gay rights, for instance!), just sermonize poor folk.

yup, how very "progressive".

Damn!
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Obamanaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:36 PM
Response to Reply #5
15. Do you mean it is not cheaper and safer to make lunches yourself? nt
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Do you mean you really don't know that school meals are sometimes the only meals poor kids get?
Do you mean that you don't know this is WHY school lunches and breakfasts were instituted in the first place?

Do you mean that you don't know there are kids IN THIS COUNTRY WHO HAVE NO FOOD AT HOME?

Do you mean that you are so eager to attack that you care NOTHING about poverty?

Do you mean that acting superior is so much more important to you than having commpassion?
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Obamanaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #16
23. I am aware that some kids get most of their food from schools. I am
aware that many areas have expanded the meals provided to include not only something for a light breakfast but also meals during the summer when school is out.

However, due to inspections (or lack thereof) or quality (or lack) of the products being used in some of the schools it is safer to prepare and carry from home if possible.

As to fast foods, it is cheaper to prepare and carry from home when possible.

For some, this option is not possible. For others, it is cheaper and safer.

Switch to decaf.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. For someone who claims to be aware of the truth, you certainly feel free to judge quickly.
Your words show who you are.

It ain't pretty.

That constant theme of criticism and negativity gets the country nowhere.
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Obamanaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. I think you'll find that there is some truth in what is being repeated
here for you:
-----
"However, due to inspections (or lack thereof) or quality (or lack) of the products being used in some of the schools it is safer to prepare and carry from home if possible.

As to fast foods, it is cheaper to prepare and carry from home when possible.

For some, this option is not possible. For others, it is cheaper and safer."
-----

For those who have the means to do so, it is cheaper to prepare foods at home than to purchace fast foods. For those who have the means to do so, it is often safer to prepare foods at home than to rely on catch as catch can inspections.

Please note, before you hop on the word 'means', it is used here not as financial means but rather the capability to do so.

Decaf can be your friend - try it Look around you, the rest of the world is not your enemy, they are not all out to get you.

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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. Are TRYING to be demeaning?
Or is that just your natural nature?

If you continue to treat poor folks with this insulting tone, don't be surprised when they tell you to stuff it.

Of course, you are sooooo certain of your "man" that you don't think you need to work for votes.

Think again.
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #15
29. Not necessarily safer.
Especially that unrefrigerated mayo. Ick! LOL!
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endless october Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 05:31 PM
Response to Original message
2. irradiation.
irradiate the meat. problem solved. good enough for France, good enough for us.

as for the taste of the food, i noticed a real downturn around 1990 in my area. not sure what happened then, but the food went from actually pretty good to straight up suck. started bringing my own lunch after that.

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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. In 1990, regs changed reducing the allowable fat content in school lunch.
It can only hit 30% per total calories served in a week, including milk. No more fried food, no more friers.
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endless october Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:17 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. i wondered what happened.
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 08:52 AM
Response to Reply #12
21. There's a reason people prefer high-fat foods.
They taste better. But when schools become the "cause" of everything from world poverty to high cholesterol, we always bear the brunt of every harsh pronouncement some school board member in Poughkeepsie can come up with.

Next thing up, no meat or milk.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. yes, keep producing bad food, just radiate it & feed it to poor kids. that's the ticket.
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endless october Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:18 PM
Response to Reply #8
13. irradiation does not increase or decrease the quality of food.
it just makes it bacteria-free.

not a bad idea when it comes to chicken and beef, both of which are notoriously high in bacteria.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 11:00 PM
Response to Reply #13
20. wholesome food, produced using proper practices, is not "high in dangerous bacteria"
maybe you're too young to remember when it was possible to eat both raw hamburger & raw eggs without fear of death.

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endless october Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #20
22. ah yes, the good ol' days.


irradiation would just be one more step away from the "safe" meatpacking practices of the days of yore.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. no, before & after the jungle. "jungle" = 1906. reforms followed.
by post ww2-era, meat-packing was highly unionized, well-paying, & quality of product high.

the decline in product safety parallels the decline in conditions, wages & unionization in meat-processing starting circa 1970s.

chickens don't "naturally" have salmonella in their eggs, meat not "naturally" ridden with "dangerous bacteria," etc., & it's possible to raise food for market without that result.

irradiation is just a means of sterilizing shit-ridden, unhealthy food & thus enabling processors to produce it to be even more shit-ridden & unhealthy.
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endless october Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-30-09 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #24
30. yeah, i've heard the anti-irradiation talking points already.
myself, i'd like a clearly marked irradiated alternative so i can kiss the risk of food poisoning goodbye. i don't enjoy vomiting myself silly because other people are afraid of irradiation the way people used to whine about pasteurization and other sane safety measures.

others can feel free to eat as much "whole" "natural" raw hamburger and raw eggs as they want. i won't stop you. just give me an irradiated choice.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 06:06 PM
Response to Original message
4. Ronnie Raygun. n/t
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. The ketchup is a vegetable guy.
Yeah, he LOVED kids.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
9. Good luck suing the USDA.
Trust me, if McD's, et al could get away with selling even worse shit, they would. Liability lawsuits and the lawyers to defend against them are expensive.
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Cairycat Donating Member (454 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 06:35 PM
Response to Original message
11. Fast food places can raise their prices at the drop of a hat
That's not true in most school districts. There is enormous pressure to keep costs as low as possible, while simultaneously meeting ever-stricter nutrition standards.

The school kitchens where I work are much cleaner, and hygiene standards much higher than any fast food restaurant I know of.
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Nikki Stone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. The school lunch program should be better funded
.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:47 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. There are a LOT of "shoulds". None of it will happen because "progressives"
won't demand it.

Poverty isn't important.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. That's interesting about the standards. Thank you for posting that!
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Kansas Wyatt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-28-09 08:52 PM
Response to Original message
19. Because regulations never evolved to meet current needs...
And concerns, which private industry has adopted over the years.

They are still going by regulations set up decades ago, instead of going by what are known quality issues and safety concerns today.
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Jamastiene Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-29-09 03:11 PM
Response to Original message
25. I knew there was some reason that shit tasted like roadkill smells.
Now I know. It was REALLY roadkill.
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