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Información en español


Petition to Continue

June 6, 2014. While RFKM turned in the first 2002 signatures from the petition we started on March 14th, asking MCPS for our top 10 priorities, we have decided to keep it going, as signatures keep pouring in. So, if you haven't yet, please sign on and share with your networks.
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As a teacher in MOCo public schools I see the negative effect this so called food has on students daily. Many of these students count on these meals as their only food for the day and sugar and chemicals aren't fitting for creating a positive learning environment.

-an MCPS Teacher


Petición ciudadana al Superintendente y la Junta de Educación

RFKM ha dedicado un año a buscar el apoyo de los padres de familia de Montgomery County, los estudiantes y otros miembros de la comunidad, con el fin de exigir alimentos más saludables para los niños que asisten a las escuelas públicas. Ahora conjugamos esos esfuerzos en una petición en línea. Al firmar la petición, los padres, estudiantes, miembros de la comunidad, empresas, iglesias, profesionales de la salud, organizaciones y maestros del condado respaldan las prioridades de RFKM.

¡Contamos con su apoyo para el éxito de esta campaña! ¡Firme ahora la petición, pídales a su cónyuge y a sus hijos que la firmen y compártala con todos sus amigos de MCPS por correo electrónico, Facebook y Twitter!
Texto de la petición en español.


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Amazon.com will donate a portion of your purchase to RFKM (through our fiscal sponsor, Chesapeake Institute for Local Sustainable Food and Agriculture), if you shop at Amazon from our Amazon Smile link: 
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I was stunned to learn that my kids can buy junk in the elementary and
middle school cafeterias, right after studying "Nutrition" in their
classrooms.

-an MCPS Parent

MCPS to Remove Chemicals from School Food

October 15, 2014.  Real Food for Kids – Montgomery (RFKM) is pleased to announce that after over a year of advocacy work with the Montgomery County Public Schools on the topic of food dyes and other chemical food additives, MCPS Director of Food and NutritionFood served at SSIMS Fall 2014 Services Marla Caplon has announced that from now on, a number of dangerous additives will be prohibited from bids for food served in its cafeterias. We are very thankful to MCPS and Ms. Caplon for hearing and acting on parent concerns. The list includes a number of artificial food dyes (Blue 2, Green 3, Red 3, Yellow 5 and 6); artificial sweeteners aspartame, acesulfame-potassium and saccharin; trans fat; lean finely textured beef (AKA pink slime); MSG; BHA and TBHQ. These chemicals were all identified as potentially harmful by scientists for Center for Science in the Public Interest, who worked with RFKM to develop a target list. RFKM members (who now number over 3500) have expressed concern about these chemicals due to studies linking them to ADHD, cancer and other adverse effects. While many parents keep their children from consuming these chemicals by avoiding school food, 34% of children in MCPS qualify for free and reduced priced meals and may eat up to three times a day at school. Children who are sensitive to these substances may suffer from hyperactivity after consuming them, which impacts the classroom environment and should therefore be of concern to all MCPS parents.

The changes will affect all contracts going forward but will not affect existing contracts until they expire. These changes will remove from sale many popular a la carte snacks in MCPS, including Welch’s Fruit Snacks, Cheez-It Crackers, Cool Ranch and Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos, Baked! Cheetos, Eagle Popped Crisps, several flavors of the Ridgefield’s Fruit Smoothies and several ice cream bars with artificial colorings. While some parents may be concerned that students will have few choices left, there are in fact many excellent, clean-label snacks available and the example from other school systems indicate that with time, students get used to new options. We have also identified a few of the entrée items and sauces that will be impacted, including the spicy chicken breast patties, orange chipotle sauce and sweet and sour sauce.

While we’re very excited about the chemicals that will no longer be in our children’s food, we must note the absence of other substances that we requested be removed in our June 3 petition to the school board: red dyes #2 and #40, blue dye # 1, caramel color, artificial flavors, azodicarbonamide, sucralose, cyclamates, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), potassium bromate, sodium benzoate, brominated vegetable oil (BVO), BHT, sodium nitrite/nitrate, substances similar to MSG that contain glutamate, such as Torula yeast and hydrolyzed vegetable protein, Mycoprotein (Quorn), and sulfites/SO2. We recognize that the exclusion of these remaining chemicals would necessitate a substantive change in the way MCPS does school food, as almost all of the processed foods served in MCPS contain one of these substances, which may have impacted the decision for a partial list. RFKM has communicated parent desires that MCPS move from their model of serving processed, reheated food to preparing food fresh in their central facility, thereby eliminating many chemical additives. With the opening of a new central facility estimated in January, we are hoping that more and more items will be prepared from scratch at the county level. We will continue to advocate on this point and need your help to do so. We would like to move to having one full-time staff person at RFKM in the new year, but we need much more member support to do so. We would like to move to having one full-time staff person at RFKM in the new year, but we need much more member support to do so. Could you either contribute today or commit to be a monthly sustainer?

For food chemical nerds like ourselves, the complete list of chemicals to be banned is: Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), trans fat, lean finely textured beef, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 3, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Aspartame, Acesulfame-Potassium, Saccharin, Butylated Hydroxyanisol (BHA), Potassium Bromate, Propyl Gallate, Sodium Tripoly Phoshate (STPP), and Tert-Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ).

Media coverage:

Montgomery schools to prohibit certain chemicals in foods - The Gazette

MCPS to Restrict Certain Additives in Cafeteria Food - Bethesda Magazine

MCPS Getting Rid Of Some Cafeteria Snack Foods - Bethesda Now


Watch RFKM Members Testify before the Board of Education (4 minute video)


Video of RFKM Testimonies before school board 6.3.14

Somos Montgomery - Comidas en las Cafeterías MCPS


Somos Montgomery did a Spanish-language video on our work pushing for healthier school food. Please pass on to your Spanish-speaking friends! 



Families eating at recipe contest

 

 

 

RFKM Members Offer Powerful Testimonies to School Board as Petition is Delivered

Comments from BOE Members and DFNS Director Indicate Progress on a Number of Petition Requests

Parents holding signs at BOE meetingTuesday, June 3rd, parents and supporters of Real Food for Kids - Montgomery took to the Montgomery County Board of Education meeting at the Carver Education Services Center in Rockville, MD to demand improved food and nutrition for school children in MCPS. Additionally, RFKM co-director, Lindsey Parsons, delivered a petition (which can still be signed) with over 2,000 signatures addressing the top ten concerns of RFKM members. The petition, including signatures from 809 parents, 203 students, and 43 physicians, called for school lunches to include more scratched-cooked, wholesome meals with unlimited fresh fruits and vegetables, or the option of a salad bar, and to eliminate the use of chemical additives, limit the availability of foods with high levels of added sugar, and offer, free unlimited water to school children with their lunches.

Ashia Mann testifyingConcerned parents and county members presented their testimonies in front of Superintendent Joshua Starr and the Board, recounting their children’s experiences with school lunch and even their own personal struggle to find healthy options. Ashia Mann told the school board that her child is only allowed to buy lunch from her school’s cafeteria once per year, and that to her daughter, the food “tastes like going to the fair.” Caron Gremont, founder of First Bites, a local non-profit organization that works with preschools in the area to excite children about eating fruit and vegetables, talked about CentroNia, a public charter school in Washington, D.C. that is able to feed each child each day fresh, high-quality, oftentimes local food for just $3 per meal—one dollar less than the $4 per meal that MCPS serves.

RFKM members holding signs outside BOE MeetingLater in the meeting, following an update on the state of school nutrition by Director of MCPS Food and Nutrition Services, Marla Caplon, several board members expressed concern regarding the lack of easy access to water in school cafeterias. Caplon agreed to look into providing baby waters to children who couldn't drink milk or conducting a trial of water coolers and cups at several schools. Caplon also indicated that MCPS is slowly working to remove foods with dyes from their offerings, and that preservatives would also be reduced when their new facility comes online, which will allow for more preparation of scratch-cooked foods. Regarding RFKM's concern about lack of transparency about a la carte items, Caplon indicated that they would create a template for principals in the coming school year to share information with parents regarding a la carte options at each school. Board of Education member, Phillip Kauffman, told Caplon that upon investigation of five individual school web sites, he was unable to locate a listing of a la carte and snack offerings, and recommended the creation of a shared tool that schools could use to post these items to their web sites. Other issues mentioned during the discussion with Caplon indicated that BOE members had read and were seriously considering the requests from the RFKM petition.

The meeting video can be watched here (Items 3 and 7).

Gazette coverage: Parents urge Montgomery school board to add more healthy foods


 
         Copyright © 2014   Chesapeake Institute for Local Sustainable Food and Agriculture (RFKM's fiscal sponsor)