Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project

Copy the URL for use in an RSS reader:

The Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, provides nonpartisan analysis and evidence-based recommendations on policies that affect the safety and healthfulness of school foods.

Over the last 15 years, our nation’s children have become less healthy and are at higher risk for serious chronic health issues; ultimately leading to increased health care costs for all of us. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), children’s diets are of poor nutritional quality. They include too much salt and saturated fat, and too few fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, the IOM, the CDC and other public health groups have identified schools as a crucial setting in which to improve children’s diets.

Additionally, numerous reports have recently identified gaps in food-safety policies, potentially allowing unsafe food onto children’s lunch trays. According to the CDC, 23,000 foodborne illnesses were caused by food served in U.S. schools between 1998 and 2007, a number that is likely underreported. Studies have documented that schools may unknowingly receive and serve recalled food and that mandatory cafeteria inspections are sometimes skipped.

The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are working together on the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project to provide nonpartisan analysis and evidence-based recommendations to help ensure that:

  • the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) adopts science-based nutrition standards for all foods and beverages served and sold in schools;
  • schools have the resources they need to train cafeteria employees and replace outdated and broken kitchen equipment; and
  • USDA develops and implements rigorous school food safety policies.

For more information, please visit


Are You School Lunch Savvy?

As students return to class and the cafeteria, test your smarts with our quiz.

Learn More

Good Nutrition Is a Main Ingredient in Back-to-School Success

Learn more about the healthy, delicious meals available to today’s students.

Read More

Our Work

View All
  • Riverside Polytechnic High School

    To ensure that students have time to eat those delicious meals, Polytechnic set a goal of keeping kids’ wait times in the cafeteria to seven minutes or less, an ambitious target for a campus with thousands of teens, one indoor serving line, and a handful of outdoor concession-style stations. To help meet this lofty goal, Polytechnic used part of its USDA grant to add a mobile cart equipped... Read More

  • Zamorano Elementary School

    The district’s Zamorano Elementary School has almost 1,300 students, 72 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced-priced meals, but its outdated kitchen equipment affected many more children than that. For nine months, the school also produced meals for nearby schools whose food service facilities were being renovated. To do more “scratch” cooking, Zamorano applied for and... Read More

  • Ronald E McNair High School

    Before Ronald E. McNair High School purchased mobile carts, many students were discouraged by long lines and skipped lunch in the cafeteria, opting to spend good-weather days outside even if it meant forgoing their midday meal. But McNair nutrition staff members were determined to increase breakfast and lunch participation while maintaining the food’s high quality. So they searched for ways... Read More

Featured Collection

School Food Success Stories

School districts find creative ways to provide nutritious meals and snacks to students.

Learn More

Media Contact

Matt Mulkey

Manager, Communications