NIS BLOG: Defining Policy

Upper Dublin Wellness Policy needs to be enforced

What is the definition of a policy?  The set of basic principles and associated guidelines, formulated and enforced by the governing body of an organization, to direct and limit its actions in pursuit of long term goals

After two hours of listening to and discussing Food service issues at the September 10th Upper Dublin School Board meeting, the question still remained, “why isn’t the Wellness Policy being followed?” It seemed that with charts that were not proportioned properly, red boxed items to highlight the newest so called problematic additions to the policy, and the continued attempt to convince the school board that this is unreasonable, everyone was left tired and confused. 

Of course the issue that came up the most was the “avoid” ingredient list. (see last blog post for explanation of the history of this list)  Even though the policy states that we are trying to eliminate these ingredients, new foods or changed existing foods now contain the “avoid” ingredients. Why?  There were reasons given like lack of availability of product, or higher cost, but again no documentation to support this.  An example of this was the meatballs. They were changed from last year and unbeknownst to us, now contain an “avoid” ingredient - “partially hydrogenated oils” which is another name for transfats.  Transfats have been found to have an adverse effect on cardiovascular health.  Here are the specifics:  The FDA ruled that a product needs to label the amount of  transfat, BUT only if it is more than .5 grams.  Having more than 2 grams of transfats a day is not recommended. Here is what the American Heart Association says:

The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of trans fats you eat to less than 1 percent of your total daily calories. That means if you need 2,000 calories a day, no more than 20 of those calories should come from trans fats. That’s less than 2 grams of trans fats a day. Given the amount of naturally occurring trans fats you probably eat every day, this leaves virtually no room at all for industrially manufactured trans fats.

To say that “the meatballs are OK because they have a trace amount of transfats, and it says 0 grams of trans fats on the label” (government requirement) is incomprehensible.  If you read the above, you can see the problem with that statement, as nobody knows how much is in the food unless it is over .5 g.  If the meatballs have .5 g per serving, 4 servings would give the maximum amount for the day, and as the American Heart Association says, “there are naturally occurring transfats that we consume every day, there is no room for industrial manufactured transfats.”

This was just one of the changed products. It has been discovered that there are other foods that contain “avoid “ ingredients.  The worst part about this is that it presents a trust issue.  If we have a policy that states these ingredients should be avoided, it is implied that none of the foods on the school menus will have these ingredients.  As the definition of policy states, these rules need to be enforced, as what is the benefit of having any policy if it is not going to be followed?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Stacey Margo September 15, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Don, I apologize for the harshness of my last comment. To say I'm frustrated is an understatement at best. I'm so tired of hearing that the NIS is to blame for all the failures and the loss of the bottom line. The fact is that the budget shown was just a bunch of numbers disguised in a pretty chart...with no backup. There was no clarification or justification of catering losses; there was not one single explanation of rebates. All we want is the truth. Tell us the truth and let us make decisions and solutions from there.
Jill Florin September 16, 2012 at 07:38 PM
an FYI.... **Media Advisory for September 25, 2012** Junk Food Sold at School Called A National Security Threat New Report Shows Shocking Amount of Junk Food Sold in U.S. Schools, Retired Military Leaders Call for Stronger Federal Nutrition Standards Background: Calling childhood obesity a threat to national security, retired generals and admirals who are members of the national security organization Mission: Readiness will issue a new report showing that a shocking amount of junk food is sold in U.S. schools each year and the availability of so much junk food undermines efforts by parents and schools to teach children to eat healthier meals and snacks. Noting that many children get as much as half their daily calories at school, the report focuses on the need to remove junk foods from schools and urges the federal government to update decades-old standards for foods sold in school vending machines, à la carte lines and snack bars. The new report, Still Too Fat to Fight, reinforces recent recommendations by the Institute of Medicine, which call for making the school environment a focal point for addressing our nation’s obesity crisis. Mission: Readiness leaders also will discuss alarming trends that affect our national security, including that 75 percent of 17- to 24-year olds in the U.S. cannot serve in the military. Being overweight is the number one medical reason why they cannot enlist—1 in 4 young adults is too overweight to join the military.
Stacey Margo September 17, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Jill, just heard the best, most heart-warming quote: "Why are we doing this, if not for the kids?" We should all (NIS, Board, Food Services, etc) be asking ourselves this each and every time a decision is made...why else are we working in this industry if not for the betterment of our children? If this is not our very commitment at each and every step, then get out now; you are clearly in the wrong business!
UD Mom September 17, 2012 at 02:46 AM
I just wanted to thank NIS for working hard (on a volunteer basis) to try and get answers and help give the kids healthier more nutritious foods at school. This is an important issue for many people and for good reason considering the health problems that are very much becomes a reality in our country. I realize the financial implications are real, but I think they can be overcome with all the facts on the table. I just hope these facts are made available soon...
Donna September 17, 2012 at 11:56 AM
With all due respect, I have been following the comments for this blog and I fnd it silly that you two women have to pat each other on the back and promote each other to each other. Looking at this from afar, it looks so silly and inane. It looks so scripted, that your credibilty is in danger. You two workd together on this, you don't speak unless it is in this fromat???


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