NEW YORK, July 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- School Food Focus today put food manufacturers on notice that school food leaders will no longer tolerate ingredients that threaten our kids' health. With thousands of products on the school food market, many with long and unwieldy ingredient lists, selecting products that fit limited budgets that are both delicious and nutritious can be a challenge. Life just got a whole lot easier for schools and manufacturers who are committed to improving the overall quality, nutritional value, and safety of food provided to children with the School Food Focus Ingredient Guide for Better School Food Purchasing (www.schoolfoodfocus.org/ingredientwatch/) released today.
"More than 33 million children rely on public school meals for their daily nutrition, yet our school food system is significantly under-resourced, and far too dependent on highly processed food. This must change," said Founder and Executive Director Toni Liquori.
The guide includes a list of "unwanted ingredients" such as artificial colors and preservatives that are possible carcinogens and should be eliminated from products. The "watch list" includes ingredients that can be a red flag as they are common in foods of lower nutritional quality, and tend to indicate a highly processed food.
Schools collectively spend over $16 billion per year to feed our nation's school children. This new guide demonstrates what can happen when school districts coordinate their purchasing power and put market pressure on food companies to provide healthier products for our nation's school children.
"It's a great tool to share with manufacturers and allows us to be clear with our parents, administrators and students about what ingredients are not acceptable," said Tarrah DeClemente, Manager of Health Promotion for Chicago Public Schools. "When school districts demonstrate a unified demand for transparency and accountability in the food we put on our students' plates, we have the potential to change the food system and with that, everyone wins."
School Food Focus is the national collaborative that ignites change in our food system by working on both the demand and supply sides of school food. Together, we're changing the way school food is produced and purchased so that every child in the U.S. — regardless of income or race — has access to delicious, nutritious school meals.
SOURCE School Food Focus