Healthy food advocates took to Capitol Hill last week to showlawmakers and their staff that school food can be cooked fromscratch, healthy and antibiotic-free -- without spending a lot ofmoney. Six high school students from the Chicago Vocational Career Academy(CVCA), who competed in the Healthy Schools Campaign's Cooking upChange, whipped up oven-"fried" chicken, raised withoutantibiotics, greens, cabbage, and sweet potato salad, a meal thatcost around $1 per serving and meets school lunch nutritionalguidelines. Their food was served to those attending the policybriefing and was added to the Congressional cafeteria menu. Last year, Chicago Public Schools, the third largest schooldistrict in the country, purchased 1.2 million pounds of chickenraised without antibiotics from Miller Amish Country Poultry inIndiana to serve at 473 local schools. School Food FOCUS and thePew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, the advocateswho organized the briefing last week, are hoping to help moreschool districts follow suit. |
The groups said CPS' purchase, which was the first and largest ofits kind for American public schools, was made "in recognition ofthe danger that the overuse of antibiotics in livestock productionposes to public health and to children in particular." School FoodFOCUS and Pew partnered with Whole Foods, the Healthy SchoolsCampaign, and Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality (CPS' primary foodservice provider) to coordinate the chicken deal. "Our future health depends on using antibiotics conservatively, butsome of the largest meat and poultry producers are overusing thesedrugs," said Laura Rogers, director of the Pew Campaign on HumanHealth and Industrial Farming. "We are grateful to Chicago PublicSchools and the talented young students of CVCA for encouragingresponsible meat and poultry production." Pew and others have urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration totake more aggressive action to limit the use of antibiotics inanimal agriculture.
According to the recent estimates , around 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United Stateseach year are fed to food animals -- and unknown percentage ofwhich is used to improve feed efficiency and promote growth, ratherthan to treat or control disease. "These students can teach all of us an important lesson aboutprotecting public health for future generations," said LauraStanley, Learning Lab Manager at School Food FOCUS. "We're inspiredby their confidence, talent, and commitment to this cause, and weare honored to have them working with us." Pictured: Six winning student-chefs from Chicago Vocational CareerAcademy posing in front of Washington, D.C.'s capitol, photocourtesy of School Food FOCUS. Food Safety News More Headlines from Nutrition & Public Health »
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