If you can't fathom putting fast food into your body, then imagine what it must be like to eat lunch at one of our nation's public schools. According to an investigation by USA Today, when it comes to food safety, fast food chains such as McDonald's, Burger King, and Jack in the Box perform more diligence than the USDA does with the National School Lunch Program.
The top two burger chains test their ground beef five to 10 times more frequently than the USDA tests beef made for schools, and other chains, like Jack in the Box, set limits for bacteria in burgers that are 10 times more stringent than what the USDA sets for school beef. Reporters also found that the USDA has spent upwards of $145 million on spent-hen meat for schools — that's meat from old birds past their egg-laying prime that might otherwise go to compost or pet food.
In 2010, Congress will review the Child Nutrition Act, which oversees the National School Lunch Program. I've always supported initiatives like Slow Food's Time For Lunch Campaign, and now they seem more necessary than ever. Are you surprised by the standards for school lunch?