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?