'Unhealthy' Milk and 'Healthy' Lunch Program

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All children in the United States of America should have lunch at school, besides this lunch should be healthy. But the tendency is that food corporations provide schools with such unhealthy food as crisps, pizza, burgers etc. This paper is aimed to show all the advantages and disadvantages of such unhealthy meals and what can be done to change this situation. This research paper is based on the book by Ron Schmid The Untold Story of Milk: Green Pastures, Contented Cows and Raw Dairy Foods, where the author explains how healthy raw milk is for children’s bodies.  Nowadays, people prefer to drink milk that is sold in supermarkets and is produced by food corporations, thinking that it is much healthier than raw milk. The author states that raw milk is much healthier because it contains more vitamins and minerals that is needed by human body and especially by children’s body which needs to grow up.  Ron Schmid provides his readers with a huge amount of interesting facts about milk and its history and a shocking history of suppression of raw milk and the advantages of drinking it. There are three main topics in the book:

- “the overwhelming evidence for the health benefits of raw milk” (Schmid 11)

- “the disturbing reluctance of medical professionals to consider the well-established benefits of raw milk or to challenge anti-raw milk dogma” (Schmid 157)

-  “the self interest of the dairy industry, which has succeeded in taking from most people their freedom to choose raw milk” (Schmid 218).

The corporations advertise that raw milk is not only useless but even harmful, but the author of the book proves that it is wrong: people have been drinking raw milk since thousand years and using it to make cheese or cream and even for some religious purposes. Besides, Schmid states that unlike milk produced by corporations raw milk is healthier, it improves people’s health, especially immune system, which is very important for teenagers; besides, the improvement is seen in one or two days. The food corporations state that there are two reasons why raw milk may be very dangerous for person’s health:

- cows have different diseases that may influence the quality of milk;

- “infection agents such as Salmonella and Campylobactor are of fecal origin.” (Schmid 55)

That is why all the raw milk should be pasteurized before a person drinks it. And Schmid proves that raw milk is not dangerous for people’s health as food corporations want people to think:

“Campylobacter organisms alone cause an estimated two million cases of gastrointestinal illness per year, whereas only 700 cases were associated with raw milk during the entire eight-year period from 1978 to 1986. The total number of cases of food-borne illness from all causes is now 73 million per year” (Schmid 82)

On the other hand, raw milk becomes more prohibited all over the world, which means that advertisements and false statistics of food corporations work, for example in Canada, there is a fine of two hundred fifty thousand Canadian dollars and imprisonment term for selling raw milk; in the United States of America there are movements which aim to make it illegal to have a cow and drink its milk in terms of one family.

On the other hand, the author of the book does not quite understand the value of the corporate milk and how it is produced. That is why Schmid advices that parents should avoid using corporate milk and if there is no possibility to give a child raw milk, then a child should drink corporate milk, which has more vitamins and minerals than juices, soft drinks or soy milk, that lead to some health problems. Besides, corporate milk is still milk and thus it has all the calcium needed for a child body to develop properly.

 This book should be read not only by governmental authorities who are responsible for agriculture or health sector, but also for those who are responsible for school lunches. Children at school should get enough vitamins and minerals to be able to study and develop properly. According to the National School Lunch Program children should get more vegetables and fruits:

“The new meal pattern goes into effect at the beginning of SY 2012%u201013, and increases the availability of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in the school menu. New dietary specifications set specific calorie limits to ensure age%u2010appropriate meals for grades K%u20105, 6%u20108, and 9%u201012. Other meal enhancements include gradual reductions in the sodium content of the meals. While school lunches must meet Federal meal requirements, decisions about what specific foods to serve and how they are prepared are made by local school food authorities.” (USDA)

On the other hand, such program does not work properly, because food corporations sign contracts with schools to sell children unhealthy food, which makes parents worry. The National School Lunch Program requires schools to provide children with cheaper or even free food.

“The NSLP then reimburses schools for every free and reduced price lunch served by the school. In addition to these reimbursements, USDA provides schools an allocation of surplus agricultural commodities, and local school food authorities can make agreements with food companies to either process the commodities into ready-to-serve foods such as pizza or french fries, or exchange the commodities for foods that meet USDA nutrition standards. Meal programs also earn revenues from the purchase of reduced and full price meals” (Haskins)

That is why Provision 2 is considered to be the best way out to provide nutritious food for pupils. According to the Provision 2 schools all over the country will have the alternative to the Federal School Breakfast Program and the National School Lunch Program and it will help school authorities to reduce the amount of paper work; the program of the Provision 2 allows school authorities to provide local and federal government with meal verifications every three or four years. On the other hand, the National School Lunch Program has its advantages, for example, it helps children from poor families get at least one third of nutritious products a day. But those pupils that have enough money to pay for their lunch on their own are used to eat unhealthy food because it is easier to get and it looks better than healthy food and it is tastier. Besides, parents bring such unhealthy food as pizza or sandwiches or hamburgers for some holidays at school and teachers give children unhealthy food as a reward. The problem is that schools need that money to compensate what they do not get from the government. That is why genetically modified food is also sold in modern schools: it is very cheap.

“Genetically modified food is the most potentially dangerous technology since splitting of the atom. It is a decision that puts corporate private property right over individual or communal property over human and environmental rights” (Schmid 170).

In the United States of America there are three biggest corporations that have signed contracts with the school authorities that allowed them to state their own prices for unhealthy food. On the other hand, children are taught to eat junky food at home with their parents, because if parents eat such food a child thinks that it should be taken as granted and, thus, in the afternoon he or she buys such food in the school cafeteria. However, according to some researches children who get their meals due to the National School Lunch Program have more calcium in their organism but they also have higher amount of fats. Besides, those who are participating in this program have gained more weight than those who were not having lunch at school at all. Children should get more nutritious food than they are getting nowadays in modern schools; that is why the policy according to the National School Lunch Program should be changed and schools should get higher subsides which will allow them to sell healthy food to pupils and break off the contracts. The other problem of modern schools is that they sell not only junk food but also soda, which is very unhealthy for children. It may cause problems with stomach and even heart diseases. Besides, it was proven that children become addicted to such kind of drinks, which mixed with junk food may cause even death, and, thus, they drink more harming their health.

Some school authorities state that healthy food is unprofitable, because according to the statistics, children buy more food when they see the brand name, which is obviously better not only for the company but also for the school. Besides, such food corporations spend a lot of money on the advertisement: according to the statistics, in 2008 about two billion dollars were spent for advertisements of unhealthy food for children and teenagers. The researchers say that something should be done fast, because children are the future of the nation and it seems that such nation will die soon. The scientists propose to make healthy food in schools of wide variety; children should have something to choose.

Nowadays, there is a strange confrontation: on one hand, we have a book by Ron Schmid The Untold Story of Milk: Green Pastures, Contented Cows and Raw Dairy Foods where he tries to prove that raw milk is healthy and it help people to improve immune system and, on the other hand, we have the National School Lunch Program which was supposed to help children have healthy food at least once a day but the situation became the opposite: children have unhealthy food which is tastier and cheaper.

Taking into consideration the way of life and willingness of children at schools to consume the junk food and drink sodas, on one hand, and corporations taking care of their profit, overwhelming power and spread of their unhealthy products something is definetely “seriously wrong with a culture that is unable to prevent corporations from gaining so much power” (Schmid 171).

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