Crunch Time for School Junk Food?

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), a frequent proponent of legislation protecting children, is now taking on a formidable opponent: the snack industry. Matthew Chayes reports that Harkin has introduced legislation that would tighten the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) definition for "foods of minimal nutritional value." Sen. Harkin wants USDA guidelines to limit saturated fat, trans fat, added sugar and other bad stuff in schools, instead of filtering foods by their nutrients. Aside from advocating voluntary guidlines, industry groups like the Center for Consumer Freedom say the problem isn't the food, it's the kids and parents. Industry consultant Lisa Katic told the Tribune, "The industry's not going to support a bill that's not showing results." She added that children need more pushups, not less fat or sugar. Kelly Brownell, director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders, told the New York Times that he fears "that the food industry, with the soft drink industry taking the lead, will work its hardest to weaken or kill this act."