Part I The quality and overall healthfulness of food served in schools goes beyond an issue of ethics and due diligence; rather, it impacts upon the prospective health of the entire nation as the youth of the country who are enrolled in the public schools are oftentimes eating 2 of 3 meals at their respective schools…
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As a function of such a realization, it is the belief and understanding of this author that the nutritional quality and content of school meals have fallen of late and continues to face a very real and present threat from the continual reductions in federal funding that are provided to the Department of Education as well as the United States Department of Agriculture. Accordingly, the following analysis will attempt to show some of the ways in which this issue is one of primary prominence as well as a handful of possible solutions to how improvements can be made without a complete overhaul or extensive restructuring of the responsible entities of these programs. Firstly, it must be noted that the quality of school food is not something that deviates from the quality standards of any other type of consumed food product within the United States. Although cost savings is oftentimes a concern, it is not the case that food unfit for human consumption is pawned off on the students. Rather, the issue at hand revolves around the overall nutritional content and caloric quality of the food that is recommended and/or provided. Another key concern is with regard to the linkage between subsidies and the extent to which the USDA is intricately involved in seeking to foster these subsidized foods into the school meal programs (Masse & Niet, 2013). Whereas it is not the point of this analysis to come down on either side of whether subsidies represent a net positive for the economics and business environment within the United States, the fact of the matter is that such actions have a profound level of impact well beyond the realm of business and/or economics. Another issue that has briefly been mentioned within the introduction is the fact that although certain foods are acceptable in order to fulfill a daily nutritional requirement, recent scholarship has increasingly pointed to the fact that a decrease in the quantity of complex carbohydrates and processed foods and an increase in the servings of vegetables and grains have a correlation to increased longevity and health. However, the school meal programs have been virtually unresponsive to such information as they have chosen instead to stand by the standard meal approach that has defined the past several decades (Samuels et al., 2010). This level of unresponsiveness is not befitting of a nation that has only recently seen the obesity rate among children climb over 30% of the entire adolescent population. Perhaps the most worrisome aspect of all of this is concentric upon the fact that successful lobbying by some of the largest and most powerful food producing companies within the United States has all but ensured that these producers and their products will continue to be represented within the nutritional structure of school meals. Whereas lobbying is a way of life for the US Government and the means by which it informs itself of many issues, it is the belief of this analyst that it is fundamentally wrong to allow oneself to be influenced by large multi-national companies as a means of making health and quality of food provided for hundreds of thousands of students throughout the United States (Nelson, 2011). Doing so on a single
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