Tue September 18, 2012
Mukwonago Students Boycott School Lunch
Many students in the Mukwonago School District are boycotting school lunches. At issue are the new federal lunch rules, which increase the servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and cap the number of calories.
Pam Harris is the Food Service Supervisor for the Mukwonago District. She says that Monday 70 percent of her students boycotted school lunch. "On a Monday menu we would typically have about 850 students taking the reimbursable lunch at our high school, and we had an actual count of 291 yesterday."
Harris says students, in particular student athletes who say they need extra calories, are upset that the portions are smaller and the price has increased by ten cents. Under new federal guidelines that took effect this school year, high schools now cannot serve more than 850 calories at lunch.
The USDA oversees the National School Lunch Program. USDA Undersecretary Kevin Concannon responded this afternoon to the student's complaints, saying that the new regulations were developed by nutrition experts for good reasons.
“Remember 30 percent of American children— not 3 percent, not 5 percent— 30 percent are overweight. So what we're interested in is good healthy sound nutrition science based.”
Concannon says the school can offer after school snacks for hungry athletes and the students are also welcome to bring additional food from home.
Mukwonago's Harris says that her students are upset and organized. She says she expects their brown bag boycott could last awhile.