Op-ed: Op-ed writer is wrong about Connecticut’s school meals program

I am writing in response to the recent Op/Ed that ran on April 22, 2014 — “Schools need to feed our kids better” — which grossly misrepresents school meal programs in Connecticut. As president of the School Nutrition Association of Connecticut (SNACT), I am disappointed that this was published without any regard for factual information.

Long before the Healthy Hunger-Free Act of 2010 mandated new standards, Connecticut schools have been offering healthy and nutritious meals for years. School meals are required to meet science-based, federal nutrition standards that include strict limits for saturated fat and portion size.

Op-ed submit bugIn her opinion piece, the writer suggests that students are “flocking” to purchase potato chips, ice cream and pizza, without any factual data to back up her claim. This is irresponsible, and misleading. School meals are balanced and healthy, and students are offered legumes, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables with each meal.

The writer also suggests that children should be served a warm vegetable soup with a mix of vegetables cooked al dente. Where is the data that suggests that it isn’t already a menu item offered in Connecticut?

We all have a collective goal. Rather than pointing fingers, we need to work together to feed our children healthy meals each and every day, in and out of school.

Parents and educators should be proud of the schools across Connecticut that have for many years provided healthy meals to children. I encourage the writer, and anybody else interested, to visit our website, www.snact.org, and understand the facts about school nutrition.

Furthermore, I would welcome the opportunity to provide the writer with a personal tour of my school kitchens, and to review the menu with her personally.

Trish Molloy is president of the School Nutrition Association of Connecticut and Food Service Director for West Hartford Public Schools.

 

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