School food fight

The battle over healthier school meals is not unique to the United States.

There is an interesting battle going on between high school students and the government—and even among elected officials themselves—over whether the government has the right to dictate to students what they can eat. Two students have even taken the fight to YouTube, posting a video in which they interview fellow students about their food preferences and what they think about the government’s mandate on healthier food in school cafeterias.

But this particular drama isn’t being played out here in the United States. Instead, it’s happening in our neighbor to the north, Canada. In the wake of an edict by the Ontario provincial government banning junk food in schools, cafeterias are reportedly going bankrupt, students are decrying the loss of their “freedom of choice,” and provincial leaders are squabbling among themselves over whether the government has made the right move.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is unapologetic. He told reporters last week that schools simply have to “be more creative” with menus to make the healthier food guidelines work.
“We put a man on the moon 40 years ago,” he was quoted in The National Post. “Don’t tell me that we can’t make healthy, delicious, tasty attractive food for teenagers in the province of Ontario in 2012.”

Personally, I find the political bickering to be the most interesting aspect of this “food fight.” Critics say the mandate was ill-conceived. Defenders say school districts simply aren’t trying hard enough. The peacemakers argue that the plan is a good one, but better education is needed to help students make informed decisions about their food choices. Students basically respond with, “let us eat whatever we want.”

And here in the United States, school foodservice professionals would like to say to their northern colleagues, “Welcome to our world.”

Watch one of the videos below.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
boston college acai bowl

From Dannon Foodservice.

Catering to the go-go-go lifestyle of university students is a challenge, and it’s one that Boston College dining representatives wrestle with daily.

“Students don’t just want to eat dinner between 5 and 7 p.m.,” says Beth Emery, the school’s director of dining. “They may want to eat dinner at 9 o’clock. We’ve been trying to come up with creative solutions.”

Those creative solutions include everything from offering breakfast items throughout the day to providing healthier late-night choices to trolling social media for trendy new menu ideas...

Sponsored Content
savory yogurt parfait

From Dannon Foodservice.

What consumers eat and, most importantly, when they’re eating it has changed significantly in recent years, signaling opportunity for operators able to capitalize on this evolution.

For example, some 83% of consumers said they were daily snackers in 2016, according to Technomic’s Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report . That’s up from 76% just two years earlier. Snacking is growing across many channels from retail prepared foods to bakery and coffee cafes, fast-food locations and more.

Busy lifestyles, smaller households with greater meal...

Industry News & Opinion

Labor secretary nominee Andy Puzder has officially bowed out of consideration for the cabinet position, according to the Associated Press .

Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants—the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.—was tired of being under fire for hiring an undocumented immigrant as a nanny and being accused 26 years ago of physically abusing his wife, an unnamed source told CBS News . The agency reported that Puzder was unlikely to show for the start of his confirmation hearings tomorrow.

Puzder has also been attacked by organized labor for comments suggesting that...

Industry News & Opinion

Risley Dining Room at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., has just become 100 percent gluten-free, 14850.com reports.

For the past two years, the university has slowly phased out gluten in the dining hall’s menu by eliminating it in its stir fries, biscuits and brownies.

Instead of offering gluten-free versions of typical college fare, including pizza and pasta, the dining service team aimed for more sophisticated restaurant-style items.

Along with being gluten-free, Risley is also peanut free and tree-nut free.

The dining room is the second college eatery...

FSD Resources