Can someone PLEASE explain this to me?

@speakeasy (4215)
United States
December 2, 2007 8:34am CST
Why is the Department of Agriculture in charge of our nation's school lunch program and vending machines in schools? To me, it would make a lot more sense if this responsibility was part of HEW (Health, Education, and Welfare). Agriculture may know more about the nutritional needs of farm animals; but, what do they know about the nutritional needs of human children - that would make more sense if it was part of "Health". Since these are school age children and the cafeterias and vending machines are in schools, even "Education" would make more sense. I know there MUST be a reason for this; but, I do not know what it is. SO, if any of you know the reason for this, please share.
1 person likes this
3 responses
@ParaTed2k (22980)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
3 Dec 07
Only one reason. The school lunch program in the United States is there to support the farmers and food producers of the US. The fact kids get fed is simply a by-product and benefit of the program. It's the same reason Food Stamps are issued by the Department of Agriculture.
@speakeasy (4215)
• United States
3 Dec 07
I did not realize that Food Stamps were issued by the Department of Agriculture either. I am learning all sorts of new things!
@ParaTed2k (22980)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
4 Dec 07
That's the cool thing about Mylot and other online communities.
@GardenGerty (115955)
• United States
2 Dec 07
Basically it is because some of the food that is provided is commodity type items from the Department of Agriculture, or it used to be. I pretty well think it still is. I did not know that the vending machines are as well, unless they are vending something other than pop. Like fruit. It may be a case that a bureaucracy started out in charge of something, and even those circumstances change, the bureaucracy stays the same. What part of the bureaucracy is the FDA? That is who should be in charge, perhaps.The Department of Education tells us that we have to teach the kids about eating healthy, and fitness, and wellness. It may dictate how much recess and PE is provided. Maybe it is time to look at all of our cabinet departments.
@speakeasy (4215)
• United States
2 Dec 07
I don't think a lot of that is still in the form of actual products any more. Many areas no longer distribute comodities to individuals or schools; they get debit cards or lines of credit. Many schools contract "food service" out and it is delivered by catering companies. A lot of schools now have vending machines which dispense everything from juice and soda to chips and candy. Some places are trying to limit the selection or eliminate it; because of the trash and childhood obesity problems. When I went to school there were NO vending machines of any kind on school property. I am not sure where the FDA fits in; but, they are so overworked and understaffed, they can't even do they job they currently have. The Surgeon General (Health) is the one who sets the nation's dietary guidelines - new "health pyramid", etc. Education does dictate PE, recess, curriculum, etc.; but does not have control of feeding these children. This all came up when I was reading an article about Congress trying to eliminate junk food from schools across the country and them having to deal with the big corporations who want their vending machines and other foods served; the Dept of Agriculture who is actually in control of the "school lunch program"; parents who are concerned about the food available to their children in school; and health professionals. I knew there had to be a reason for sticking school lunches under the Department of Agriculture at SOME time in our past. Perhaps the old system of providing physical commodities directly to schools did have something to do with it.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (115955)
• United States
3 Dec 07
The advantages of being in a small school district. Our wellness committee decided that pop would no longer be available at attendance centers in our district. The pop is gone. At the elementary the teachers have pop in a refrigerator, on the honor system, in the break room. I am a little disappointed at the high school, as the machines are there, with "healthy" choices of Tropicana (read Coca Cola) drinks that are still first ingredient "high fructose corn syrup" or artificial sweeteners. At our elementary the principal says "Teachers are not to have any beverage except water (or milk) in the sight of the kids." In my junior high school we had vending machines that sold fruit, including lemons, and giant pickles. We had a snack bar at noon run by the band parents as a fund raiser, and that was where people got pop and chips and candy. Things keep on changing.
@lyndaj70 (293)
• United States
2 Dec 07
The Dept. of Agriculture provides a lot of the food that the schools use... Also, the Dept. of Agriculture does more than work with farm animals. You want info on how to safely can or preserve food? You call the Dept. of Agriculture. You want some recipies for a new veggie you grew in your garden or found in the grocery? They have that, too. They work with more than animals; they primarily deal with food sources.
@speakeasy (4215)
• United States
2 Dec 07
I now understand that they were probably given this responsibility becasue they provided some of the food that WAS used to provide the lunches - the amount received by schools now is a lot less. But, they have no control or input over the vending machines that are proliferating in the schools and they are NOT experts in human nutrition - of course, even the so-called "experts" disagree and keep changing their minds. I would think that they would be encouraging the schools to rely on the products they are providing them - whether they are really healthy or not. I remember when I was younger that my school was given so much butter by the government that hey were unable to use it all before the end of the year - so they were giving better to the teachers to take home and use so that it would not spoil over the summer. Too much butter is not good for anyone due to the calories and fat content; but, that is what he school received. Maybe it is time to change who is responsible for our children's nutrition at school.