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President Barack Obama Food Crisis

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Dear President Barack Obama,

As Thanksgiving break comes to an end, children across the country head back to school only to be faced with cafeteria meals. While students are expected to excel in academics, their malnourished stomachs can be more distracting than Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Processed food has secured a front row seat in school lunches across America. This epidemic has contributed to obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure, along with countless social problems. It is time for America to rebuild the country's cafeterias, promote a healthy lifestyle for future generations, and stop business from rising as our countries health plummets.

Americans have done a fantastic job providing food to children regardless of their socioeconomic status. Unfortunately, lunchrooms across the country have to keep pace with children's taste buds and appetites, while staying under budget. This leads to one of the main concerns of students nationwide: the nutritional quality of their food. Cafeteria food in America has slowly improved over the past fifteen years. Nutritional quality differs from district to district, but the United States Department Of Agriculture (USDA) recommends 500 milligrams of sodium per lunch. According to the USDA less than a third of schools stay below the recommended intake of fat and sodium. It doesn't take a current Albert Einstein to notice that school lunches are incredibly unhealthy. Currently pizza, donuts, Domino's, and chicken nuggets are being served to millions of children that receive free meals under federal programs. Marion Nestle, the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition at New York University, points out in Journal of America that, “School lunches hardly resemble real food -- they serve items such as chicken nuggets, which are highly processed, with additives and preservatives, and list more than 30 ingredients instead of just chicken” (Larsen). This makes one question who is buying the food?

The simple answer is; not the schools. In spite of the fact that high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools technically purchase their food, the USDA has full control over what is being bought. Cafeterias purchase food at extremely cheap prices from the USDA due to low budgets and thousands of children to feed. Subsequently, the Department of Agriculture paid more than $500 million to 62 meat and dairy producers. Out of the 62 companies, six producers received a total of $331 million. Schools also have the option of buying food directly from private companies. Although, very few districts and towns can afford this due to low budgets. A set of regulations was enforced that required certain ingredients, grains, and fruits to be included per meal.

Living in America, a business derived economy, these regulations hardly changed the nutritional content. Kings Delight, a branch of the Perdue Chicken Company switched to no antibiotics chicken in attempts of meeting these regulations. Purdue’s advertisement following the change in chicken was, “Get ready for an easier way to make the switch to all veggie-fed chicken raised with no animal by-products and no antibiotics ever” (Jacob's). While Perdue’s switch to healthier chicken is certainly beneficial, it is still made into the same unhealthy chicken nuggets.

School cafeterias are destroying children’s health and funding the image of fat Americans. It’s easy to purpose a law decreasing the amount of product the six companies who profited over $331 million can produce. But why not completely remove these future monopolizing companies from the cafeteria. At first this may seem extreme and unrealistic, however, with further development could create a bond between the cafeteria and local producers. Not only would the children’s health benefit due to the increase in food quality but also the town's income due to local farmers. This would further create jobs and opportunity making taxes less of a burden for both low and high-income families. On the other hand, the six mass producing food companies would hardly be affected by this change. Businesses such as Tyson Food Incorporation, Pilgrim's Pride Corporation,



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