Where things stand now
we know from MCPS thus far
our members can do
communications with parents on options for children’s
MCPS elementary school menus now contain a blurb
mentioning the existence a la carte items and the
possibility of limiting these purchases by contacting
your cafeteria manager, as does the a la carte section
of the MCPS DFNS web
site. Information on blocking your child's
account was also sent out in the packet sent to
parents of elementary school children for fall 2013. Lindsey
testified to the Board of Education on 10/8/13 to
request greater transparency. As of January 2017, MCPS
now has interactive
menus which include ingredients on their main
Caplon agreed to suggest to principals to send home a
list of the a la carte and vending items available at
their schools and information on blocking your child's
account for a la carte at the beginning of the
2013-2014 school year. We do not know if this request
your school cafeteria if you seek to block a la carte
food purchases for your child. You can also request a
printout of all foods your child has purchased at any
time from your cafeteria manager. It may also be
available through MyLunchMoney online. Share information
about blocking a la carte food purchases on your school
listserv and with other parents you know. Urge your
principal to send out a list of a la carte and vending
items available at your school to parents.
to remove the practice of rewarding children with food
and also ensuring the availability of free water in
cafeterias (required by MCPS wellness policies and
federal regulations, respectively)
rewarding children with food is discouraged in
official MCPS policy, it is not forbidden and is still
cafeterias only offer water via a drinking fountain,
which in some cases is only in the hall adjacent to
the cafeteria. Children are often required to raise
their hands and be recognized to get water.
is apparently in compliance with federal and state
regulations, according to the reading by MCPS and the
State Department of Education.
your teacher know of the
wellness policy (see page 4, section III. D. 2.
a.) and encourage the use of
rewards other than food.
cafeteria and discuss with your cafeteria manager the
possibility of putting a large water container out for
children to use to refill water bottles. PTAs may
provide funding for this. Ask teachers to encourage
the use of refillable water bottles.
the health value of competitive foods
of the competitive foods sold in accordance with the
MCPS wellness policy (a la carte and vending) have
many dangerous additives and are of minimal
also vending machines containing foods not approved
under the MCPS wellness policy, such as soda and
candy. These machines were turned on at the end of the
school day in 2012-2013. Due to our advocacy, the
Superintendent has directed Royalle, the vending
company, to delay turning on these machines until 30
minutes after the end of the school day.
testified to the Board of Education on 10/8/13
regarding unhealthy a la carte and vending items.
met with Ms. Caplon and Mr. Baddour of Royalle on Aug.
9. We reviewed the products they had selected for the
trial at Takoma Park Middle School (we asked for
products that are majority whole grain, are low in
sugar and/or high in fiber and do not contain Red 40
colorant; Yellow 5 & 6 colorant; Blue colorant;
BHA/BHT/TBHQ; MSG/autolyzed yeast; HFCS; Potassium
Bromate; Sodium Benzoate, Aspartame, Acesulfame
Potassium, Cyclamates, Saccharin and Sucralose or
vanillin). We liked the majority of the products that
they suggested but asked that they not include some
with harmful additives. We also asked that ice cream
bars be limited to one day a week and the flavors of
Sidekicks (frozen juice) that contain food dyes not be
sold. On 8/29 Ms. Caplon said her team will test the
flavor of Sidekicks that has no dyes. We are awaiting
the final product list and anticipate it will include
ice cream and Sidekicks with dyes at least until
product testing is complete. Success for the trial
will be based on volume of sales relative to last year
from the months of Oct. - Dec. 2013. If it is
successful, it will be expanded to other schools. As
of early December, 2013, we know that a la carte and
vending sales at Takoma Park Middle School are about
15% lower than last year. MCPS has indicated that they
will continue to look for products that meet our
criteria and sell as well as the products we wish to
Survey your own school's competitive
food items. Ask your principal to remove unhealthy items
or competitive foods entirely.
schools to eliminate food/snack items that contain
members identified artificial colors, artificial
flavorings, preservatives and other chemical additives
that have earned a 'caution' or 'avoid' rating from
the CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest)
contained in concessions snacks sold in schools.
Fruit Wave H2O was not in compliance with the
guidelines due to a high calorie count. It has been
removed due to our requests in late 2012 and early
2013. It has been reformulated with Stevia and will be
sold again in 2013-2014. In addition, Fruit by the
Foot has been removed from vending machines containing
approved products due to non-compliance with the
January, 2014, MCPS no longer serves "strawberry"
milk, which contains harmful ingredients, including
FD&C red dye #40.
We sent a
request on May 28, 2013 to Ms. Caplon on the issue of
removing additives in all the foods sold in MCPS.
flavored milk helps encourage kids to consume calcium;
this does not appear to be a shared priority.
Ask your principal to remove a la
carte and vending selections that contain artificial
colors and flavors.
Getting rid of
requested that strawberry milk no longer be sold or be
sold no more than once a week and to place the white
milk in front of flavored milk in all cafeterias. We
also asked whether flavored milks could be eliminated
just from breakfast or whether parents could request
that "white milk only" be put on their child's
testified to the Board of Education on 10/8/13
regarding the strawberry milk.
January 2014, MCPS will no longer serve strawberry
milk! Ms. Caplon has also agreed to request that the
current dairy reduce the sugar in the chocolate milk
to 18 grams total (so only 6 grams added).
central office will not ask individual schools to put
a "white milk only" message on students' accounts,
some individual cafeteria managers are willing to do
apparently did a trial of the "Nudge" program to
encourage healthier choices based on food placement
and display, did not see big results and therefore
discontinued it. Ms. Caplon agreed to share
information on this trial with us as of April, 2013
but we still have no further information on it.
cafeteria manager to place white milk in front of
Ask if your
cafeteria manager will allow parents to put "white
milk only" on their child's lunch account and if so,
communicate that information with other parents.
kids about the sugar in flavored milk and encourage
them to consume plain milk.
nutrient content of school meals
books with ingredient lists for all the products sold
in MCPS available at the offices of Food and Nutrition
Services. We have scans of the ingredient lists from
have PDF files on a large portion of the foods sold in
MCPS. We will be posting them to our web site.
MCPS is in compliance with their own
was determined that MCPS was out of compliance with
their own wellness policy that "Vending machine
fronts will promote activity or consumption of
approved beverages" due to depiction of unapproved
products such as Coke and Pepsi on vending machines.
our prompting, this was brought to the attention of
MCPS by County Councilmember George Leventhal during a
Health and Human Services Committee meeting for
Montgomery County on 10/10/13. On 11/13/13, Marla
Caplon indicated that she had already spoken with
Royalle, the vending company, to correct the
know if you see a change in the vending machine fronts
at your school to bring them into compliance with MCPS
Priorities and Progress
Priorities and Progress