The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is countering rising negative comments that meat products in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program are adding to childhood weight and health problems.
In fact, schools are serving more fruits, vegetables and grains since the start of the School Meats Initiative.
Also, fewer than 30% of all breakfast menus include meat or meat alternatives, says NPPC.
School lunches have decreased fat content, calories from fat and are much lower in cholesterol and sodium than in years past.
NPPC is working with Congressional leaders to extend the commodity purchase program for breakfast by 5 cents per meal.
The council is also working to provide an incentive-based pilot study to reward school districts for offering low-fat pork products.
The facts about pork in school lunches are:
- Schools are serving pork entrees and still meeting the nutritional goals for fat and saturated fat.
- Schools depend on Agriculture Department (USDA) commodities to keep food costs low. USDA should extend the use of commodities to cover breakfasts and to provide incentives to schools offering low-fat pork products, especially when combined with fruits and vegetables.
- Low-fat pork products are a good source of protein and important nutrients. It is time for schools to offer more of these items at breakfast as well as lunch.