In response to the article “All the broccoli you can eat, kids” [March 12], we would like to thank County Council President Craig Rice and Vice President George Leventhal for their support of Real Food for Kids – Montgomery (RFKM) and its recommendations to Montgomery County Public Schools for improving the school food environment.
This past Friday, March 14, RFKM launched a community-wide petition asking that its recommendations be taken into consideration by Superintendent Starr and the Board of Education. We are gathering support for the petition and will deliver it in 60 days.
While MCPS follows USDA and Maryland state guidelines with regard to school food, we believe MCPS can do better. In its 18-month existence, RFKM has garnered the support of 1200-plus parents, community members and health professionals in advocating for fresher, healthier, more nutrient-rich foods in MCPS.
We also support the elimination of highly-processed, chemically-laden offerings in both the school cafeterias and vending machines.
Another area of concern to parents is the high level of sugar in food products offered by MCPS to its 151,000 students. With one exception, all juice products sold in MCPS equal or exceed calorie and sugar levels in an equivalent-sized soda.
In our preliminary analysis of over 200 MCPS food products, RFKM identified 39 with added sugars and 49 with dangerous chemical additives. While some schools have salad bars, we would like to see the number increase to include all schools, where feasible.
With the current awareness of the benefits of a healthy diet and the purchasing power of such a large school system, we believe acceptable alternatives can replace unhealthy products without a financial burden.
We look forward to seeing positive changes in the coming years, and we believe our community will support MCPS and Montgomery County in this endeavor. More information about RFKM and its petition can be found on our website, www.realfoodforkidsmontgomery.org.
Karen Devitt, Silver Spring, and Lindsey Parsons, Takoma Park
The writers are cofounders of Real Food For Kids - Montgomery.