Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project

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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.

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:

USDA develops and implements rigorous school food safety policies.

report

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    WASHINGTON—School food service directors are using a mix of strategies—three, on average—to encourage students to eat healthy meals and snacks, and many see few or no remaining challenges to implementing updated breakfast and lunch nutrition standards. The findings come from a new report from the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a collaboration between The Pew... Read More

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    School meal programs and the individuals who run them have come under intense scrutiny in recent years as they planned for and implemented the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s healthier standards for foods and drinks offered to the nation’s students. But it is not just breakfast and lunch menus that have changed; vending machine options, a la carte lines, food-based fundraising... Read More

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    California’s Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is recognized as a national leader for transforming its lunchprogram to provide healthier, locally sourced food to students. Through the district’s efforts, student demand forfresh fruits and vegetables increased enough that Westlake Middle School decided to use a U.S. Department ofAgriculture kitchen equipment grant to buy a new... Read More

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