New Research: Food Industry Self-Regulations For Marketing to Children Are Not Working

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood writes:

In 2008, many of the nation’s major food companies formed the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) in an effort to stave off government regulation. The CFBAI was supposed to improve the food environment for children by having companies adopt voluntary—and self-defined—guidelines for marketing food and beverages to children. We, and many other advocates, were understandably skeptical that self-regulation would end the barrage of junk food marketing aimed at children. Two recent studies demonstrate that these fears where well founded.

In December, research released by Children Now (pdf) conclusively demonstrated that the food industry’s self-regulation efforts have failed to significantly improve the nutritional quality of foods marketed to children. And a new study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity (pdf) finds that in-store promotions aimed at children – such as the use of licensed characters on packaging – are increasing dramatically. And the nutritional quality of the items marketed through these cross-promotions actually declined over the course of the three-year study.

Is there anyone not on a food company payroll who honestly believes the food industry will shape up on its own?

Click here to find out more about Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

Bills Ban Bullying, Promote Healthy Foods in Schools

Massachusetts Senate Passes Safe School Package

State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) announces action by the Massachusetts Senate today advancing measures that ban bullying and update nutritional standards in schools with a pair of bills aimed at promoting a safe, healthy and productive learning environment for all students.

The Senate’s anti-bullying legislation prohibits physical, verbal and written acts that threaten or cause harm to another student, including Internet “cyber-bullying,” while a separate school nutrition bill establishes new standards for fresh food options in school cafeterias and vending machines.

“These two bills working together will make a dramatic difference in our school environment,” said Downing. “We know there’s a strong connection between health and safety and learning. By striking out fear and improving nutrition, we’re hoping to provide students with a more valuable and rewarding educational experience.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Home Garden Exchange (HHuGE) Wagon Opens July 20th!

Share the Abundance of the Hilltowns!
Hilltown Home Garden Exchange (HHuGE)

Hilltown Home Garden Exchange (HHuGE)

Wagon opens July 20th, 2009 at the Old Creamery in Cummington, MA.

Your carrots and tomatoes, your bountiful harvest, yearning to circulate with other plump produce!

That which ye will eat, and rejoice with us as we GIVE and TAKE without charge, with the open neighborly spirit our Hilltowns are known for.


More information at:
or contact Kathy McMahon @ 634-0002 to volunteer

Sponsored by ‘Eating is not an Option,” a growing coalition of local political leaders, Fraternal organizations and non-profits in the Hilltowns, including the Hilltown Food Pantry, Loaves & Fishes and Hilltown Families.

Obama’s New Chef Skewers School Lunches

Obama’s New Chef Skewers School Lunches

Before he agreed to cook for the Obama family in the White House, Chicago chef Sam Kass was already talking about changing the way American children eat.

During weekly Tuesday gatherings at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in Chicago, Mr. Kass hosted “Rethinking Soup,” which he described as “a communal event where we will eat delicious, healthy soup and have fresh, organic conversation about many of the urgent social, cultural, economic and environmental food issues that we should be addressing.”

In May, over a meal of locally-produced beef and barley soup, Mr. Kass lamented the sorry state of the National School Lunch Program, which provides low-cost or free lunches to schoolchildren. He noted that what gets served up to kids is influenced by government agricultural subsidies. As a result, he says, meals served to students are low in vegetables and disproportionately high in fat, additives, preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup. (He also links the high consumption of sugary foods and food additives to learning difficulties and attention deficit disorder, although the medical community remains divided on that issue.) …


Encourage Oprah to Support Healthy School Lunches

Amy Kalafa of Two Angry Moms writes:

Recently, Oprah did a couple of shows focusing on the emotional toll of childhood obesity. The shows were touching, powerful, and an important step in rethinking how we nourish our kids.

We want Oprah to broaden this discussion to address the need to fundamentally change how we feed kids in America both in school and at home. We want to extend the conversation beyond obesity and diabetes and delve into the impact of poor nutrition on learning capacity, cognitive function, social adaptability, behavior issues, and general health and wellness. Even more importantly, we want to spark action to effect meaningful change in the school food environment to enhance our collective ability to create healthy, well-adjusted, thriving children.

Please take a moment to reach out to Oprah. Let her know we want to fill her audience with Angry Moms working to ignite the kind of positive change that will sustain our kids as well as the planet they will inherit.

Go to, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click on “contact us” [it’s in small print at the very bottom]. Under the heading “The Oprah Winfrey Show” at the middle of the page, there are prompts to either “send in your thoughts” or “send in your show suggestions.” Click on either one and encourage Oprah to join the Two Angry Moms movement and show her audience the inspiring people and programs that are already making a positive impact around the country. Let Oprah know that with her help, we can reach the tipping point in this movement.

Let’s keep our grassroots growing!

Autumn Tips to Help Keep Your Kids Safe and Healthy

Autumn Tips to Help Keep Your Kids Safe and Healthy

Autumn requires us to make changes in our lifestyle due to weather, daylight changes, school activities, and upcoming holidays. Greet the fall with ways to help keep you and your kids safe and healthy. Take steps to make sure your kids develop healthy habits that will help them now and throughout their lives.

Have an afternoon of food-tasting.

Gather your family together to research at least 3-5 varieties of one type of food i.e. fruit, vegetable, nut, etc.. Talk about the unique qualities of the food and a little about its history i.e. when it was discovered, what it is known for, etc. Lead the family in a taste test of the different varieties of the food, or prepare the food several different ways and have everyone choose their favorite. For example, an apple could be prepared as apple snack wedges, applesauce, apple cider, and baked apples. You could also present similar types of vegetables, such as collard greens, spinach, kale, and mustard greens. Talk about differences in their taste. Pick fall favorites, or be adventurous and try new things…

READ MORE: CDC – Family Health – Parents: Autumn Tips to Help Keep Your Kids Safe and Healthy.

National School Lunch Program – Can We Fix It?

Getting at the Meat of the Matter

In February of this year the United States saw the largest beef recall in its history after video footage from inside a California slaughterhouse created concerns regarding the safety of 143 million pounds of meat. Within days of the recall, word got out that roughly one-third of the recalled beef was purchased for federal nutrition programs, most notably for the National School Lunch Program. Still later it was revealed that at least 20 million pounds of that beef had already been consumed by school children across the country. Another 15 million pounds were still missing several weeks after the recall-largely because much of the meat was processed into nuggets and other pre-made meal items before being sent to schools. This news revealed some of the inner workings of our food system and left many parents with pressing questions about what their kids are eating. So how does this food get on our children’s plates? And if we know there is a problem, why can’t we fix it? Read the rest of this entry »

How to Navigate School Food Law & Policy

Mapping School Food: A Policy Guide
A New Resource from the Public Health Advocacy Institute

Improving the school food environment can be a difficult task, and understanding school food law and policy can be a barrier to getting started. That’s why this new guide from the Public Health Advocacy Institute is so invaluable. Mapping School Food was written to help legislators, advocates, parents, teachers and anyone interested in improving school food navigate school food law and policy.

Mapping School Food is an innovative guide that describes school food policy from the perspective of different personnel in the school system. It also provides tools to help advocates find answers, resolve conflicts, and build consensus for improving school food in their community. Click here to download your free copy today. Read the rest of this entry »

Web Review: National School Lunch Week

National School Lunch Week

Website for this mid-October event, which recognizes the importance of school lunches in providing America’s children with access to nutritious meals. Features recipes for five suggested meals (including a wrap with dip, a burger with potatoes, and a rice bowl), and an opportunity to vote for your favorite meal. Includes printable material about health and nutrition aspects of each meal. From the School Nutrition Association. [c.LLI]

Community Harvest Supper of Local Food on 08/19/07

Be a Local Hero

(c) Hilltown Families - Chard growning at the Community Garden

The 3rd Annual Free Harvest Supper of Local Food will be happening on the Greenfield Town Common/Court Square on Sunday, August 19th from 5-7pm.

This open community event will feature:

  • Free bountiful meal of locally grown food prepared by local chefs
  • Live music
  • Children’s activities
  • Educational displays
  • A Really, Really Free Market
  • Conservation of resources by encouraging guests to bring your own place settings
  • Read the rest of this entry »

    Ketchup Sandwiches

    Born from the American Weiner …

    I’m not a fan of hot dogs. Just the thought of eating one makes my throat close-up in preparation to gag. I don’t even like the vegetarian knock-offs, Soy Pups. Didn’t like them as a kid either. I used to remove the Oscar Meyer Weiner and eat the rest. Thus, was born the Ketchup Sandwich. I became so fond of Ketchup Sandwiches as a kid my mother would actually pack them in my lunch for school. I’ve since outgrown Ketchup Sandwiches but have tried to introduce them to my daughter. She obviously has more culinary class than I did as a kid and refuses both dog and ketchup. But as a group, American’s and their kids love hot dogs. This weeks web reviews is just for you folks…

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Breastmilk Banking in Western Mass

    Got (breast) Milk?

    In 1911 the very first milk bank in the country was established in Boston. Many more were established from then, later to be closed in the 80’s due to concerns of HIV contamination. Today we have 10 non-profit breastmilk banks in the U.S. The nearest location for parent’s in Western Massachusetts to attain a supply of breastmilk is North Carolina or Ohio … until now!

    Our friend Tanya Lieberman over at Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog is part of a breastfeeding coalition working to establish a collection point in our area for breastmilk donations. These donations will become part of the Mother’s Milk Bank of New England, scheduled to open in Boston in a year of so.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Veggie Booty Recall

    FDA Warns Consumers Not to Eat Veggie Booty Snack Food – Risk of Salmonella Contamination

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to eat Veggie Booty snack food, marketed by Robert’s American Gourmet, due to possible contamination with Salmonella Wandsworth, bacteria that cause gastrointestinal illness.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Froot Loops’ days are numbered!

    Kellogg to Curb Marketing of Foods to Children

    [NY TIMES, Andrew Martin – 6/14/07] Froot Loops’ days on Saturday morning television may be numbered.

    The Kellogg Company announced today that it will phase out advertising its products to children under age 12 unless the foods meet specific nutrition guidelines for calories, sugar, fat and sodium.

    Kellogg also announced that it would stop using licensed characters or branded toys to promote foods unless the products meet the nutrition guidelines.

    The voluntary changes, which will be put in place over the next year and a half, will apply to about half of the products that Kellogg currently markets to children worldwide, including Froot Loops and Apple Jacks cereals and some varieties of Pop Tarts.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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