“The San Diego Unified School District’s misguided decision to remove meat and poultry from public school menus takes away one thing, but serves up another — a tainted lesson to children that the agenda of the few is more important than the freedom of choice for the many,” wrote NCC President Mike Brown in a recent op ed that appeared in the U-T San Diego. Brown was joined by California Poultry Federation Bill Mattos and Pacific Egg and Poultry Association President Debbie Murdock in signing the op ed.
The op ed was in response to the school district’s recent decision to implement “Meatless Mondays” in San Diego public elementary schools.
The poultry groups noted that obesity is the result of consuming more calories than one burns, not any one particular food, and that childhood obesity would be better addressed by choosing lean, affordable proteins like poultry more often.
“For many children throughout California, the meat and poultry included in the school lunch program might be the only significant source of protein consumed during the entire day, since about 50 percent of the children in San Diego Unified School District qualify for free and reduced breakfasts and lunches,” they wrote. “We suggest that children and parents have the ability to choose school meals based on their nutrition needs and dietary preferences.”
The op ed noted that a vegetarian option is already offered every day at San Diego public elementary schools and is selected by 22 percent of students. “The 78 percent of students who regularly choose a meat or poultry option throughout the week have no choice on ‘Meatless Monday.’ Is that the way schoolchildren are to believe a democracy is supposed to work?”
The op ed can be read in its entirety on the U-T San Diego Web site by clicking here.