Weekly Update: Free Lunches for Low Income Schools & Junk Food Banned, Food Chains film, GRAS lawsuit and more!

The past few days I’ve started working on an article. It’s a large endeavor and I’m not sure I’ll even finish it, but right now I am still working on it. For now, a few interesting bits from around the internet.

    1. Two important initiatives from the White House were announced:
    First, marketing junk food and sodas in schools will soon be banned. Schools will no longer be able to house vending machines with images of their sodas, have posters promoting unhealthy food and drinks, or use cups in cafeterias that market high-calorie beverages.

    Second, free school breakfast and lunch will be universal for all students in schools that have 40 percent or more eligible students. This is expected to be cost neutral because it will reduce a lot of paperwork.

    2. Forgot to mention in my post about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) that a new food documentary recently premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and should be coming to the US this fall. Food Chains tells the story of where our food comes from and under what conditions it was grown. The movie features segments on the Immokalee Workers as well as many other farm workers. Check out the trailer:

    3. Also referenced in my post on CIW, Oscar Otzoy mentioned that farm workers were being sprayed directly with pesticides while working (!). That was appalling to me, but at least there is positive news from Civil Eats: EPA (Finally) Proposes Measures to Protect Farm workers from Pesticide Exposure.

    4. Dietitians are taught (at least I was) that as long as a food is GRAS status (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the FDA, then it is a-OK to recommend. Well, the Center for Food Safety, a non-profit organization, does not agree and has filed a lawsuit against the FDA and GRAS. Specifically mentioning Allyl isothioctanate, olestra, and mycoprotein. Furthermore, many weaknesses in the current GRAS law, besides the fact that it is toothless, include a recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine that found conflicts of interest were common in the determination of whether a food additive was GRAS.

    5. Recently, the Daily Show was in Hawaii filming a segment on GMOs. No air date has been announced, but you can read about it here. The segment should be amusing, and will likely discuss the bill signed into law on December 5, banning the open-air use and testing of GMO crops.

That’s it for the weekly, check back tomorrow for more…

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