Sense and sensibility

Over-the-top stories on foodservice.

Schools are back in session, and apparently that means open season on school foodservice. This week alone I have seen no fewer than 10 opinion pieces on the state of school foodservice, most of them negative and at least one, as you’ll see, just a bit over the top.

One of the great things about America is freedom of speech, and the Internet has given virtually everyone a place to utter their opinions freely. That doesn’t necessarily mean we get substantive and reasoned debate as a result, however.

Earlier this week I saw a column in an online publication called Natural News that was titled “School Lunch: Where the Real Weapons of Mass Destruction Lie.” You can see why it got my attention.

It was written by a Hawaiian “citizen journalist” by the name of Hesh Goldstein. His bio listed him as “vegetarian since 1975, vegan since 1990. Moderator of a weekly radio show in Honolulu called Health Talk since 1981.” Goldstein doesn’t say what his background is in health and nutrition, other than to note that he “obtained a master’s degree in nutrition, in 2007, to silence the so-called ‘doctors’ that called in on my weekly radio show asking for my ‘credentials.’”

His opinion piece blamed school foodservice and the federal government for the childhood obesity problem. He calls the National School Lunch Program “a disaster,” claims that the public “is kept nutritionally uneducated,” and suggests that school meals “routinely fail to meet nutritional standards.”

Goldstein makes a number of outrageous and/or contradictory claims and suggestions in the article. For example, he says that “very little” of the reimbursement money schools in the NSLP receive actually goes to food. Why? “Because the schools have to use it to pay for everything from the custodial services to heating the cafeteria.”

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