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School Lunches in America Face Health and Cost Concerns - Food News

School Lunches in America Face Health and Cost Concerns - Food News
From The Kitchn - September 12, 2017

The status of school lunch in America is far from perfect. Between unhealthy options and lunch shaming, there's tremendous room for improvement when it comes to how and what children in the nation are being fed.

Earlier this year, New Mexico became the first American state to take a legal stand on lunch shaming when students do not have the funds to purchase food. The Hunger-Free Student's Bill of Rights, signed into law by Governor Susana Martinez, and introduced by Senator Michael Padilla, aims to use other methods of settling a tab with parents and guardians that does not involve the kids.

"A 6-year-old maybe up to about an 11- or a 12-year-old, a 14-year-old, they have no power to fix this issue and to resolve this," Padilla, who mopped cafeteria floors in exchange for a meal, tells NPR. "If their parents have debt in the lunchroom, then that is not something that they have control over, and I do not know why we are punishing them. So this prohibits thatit outlaws thatand it focuses more on the child's well-being rather than the debt itself."

An annual study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found hunger in the U.S. is the lowest it's been since 2007, reports Bloomberg. But even so, 41.2 million people fell under the "food insecure" bucket in the 2016 calendar year. Much of the decline seen last year in those living with hunger was due to school-meal programs, which are currently at risk under the current administration.

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