Within MCPS schools, many a la carte and vending items sold are high in sugar, including added sugars (note: the American Heart Association recommends that children 3 and up consume no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar daily and the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that no more than 10% of daily calories come from added sugar). RFKM has produced a chart summarizing added sugars in MCPS foods. RFKM advocates that complete school meals, including snacks, stay within or be below these recommended guidelines.
Most of the foods served in MCPS meals are processed and contain chemical additives, some of which have been shown to cause cancer, and hyperactivity and other behavioral impairments in children. Food dyes and combinations of food dyes are particularly implicated in causing hyperactivity in a certain portion of susceptible children. These chemicals are listed as "caution" or "avoid" by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. RFKM has produced a chart of foods served in MCPS with these chemicals and has asked MCPS to eliminate the following chemicals from its foods: artificial flavors (plus vanillin), artificial colors (including red dye #2, #3 and #40, yellow dye #5 & #6, blue dye #1 and #2, and caramel coloring), artificial sweeteners (including aspartame, acesulfame potassium, cyclamates, saccharin and sucralose), BHA, BHT, Propyl gallate, TBHQ, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG and other glutamate-containing additives, including autolyzed yeast, Torula yeast, and hydrolyzed vegetable protein), partially hydrogenated oils/artificial trans fats, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), potassium bromate, azodicarbonamide, sodium benzoate, Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO), sodium nitrite/nitrate, Mycoprotein (Quorn), and sulfites/SO2.
Progress: In September of 2014, MCPS announced a new policy prohibiting from future bids a number of the chemicals on our desired remove list. In fall 2016, MCPS announced that it had stopped selling Cheetos and Doritos in schools, due to the large number of chemical additives that they contain.