School Food and Policy in the U.S.

School Food And Policy In The U.S.

Thu 28 Nov 2013

Story by Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA) Team

The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA) raises awareness of the state of the food system in America, working with meaningful partners and workgroups for a bigger impact.

Through working with partners and as a member of the Food Marketing Workgroup (FMW) and National Alliance for Nutrition and Action (NANA) Coalition – two of the biggest groups working on food, diet and nutrition in the US – the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation tracks, reports and activates its community around school food and food education, marketing, soda and sugary drinks, and the Farm Bill. Through these partnerships we update our community on topics that matter to them and let them know how they can act in order to help improve the food system, whether at school or in the community.

Below are some of the highlights and wins around school food policy in the US, though the team has also worked on and supported improvements in marketing to kids, soda and sugary drink limits and the Farm Bill – the biggest piece of legislation covering everything from agriculture to food production and school food in America.


• Jamie was awarded the prestigious TED Prize to create a movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.
• The Food Revolution petition launched to support better food in schools and help keep cooking skills alive.
• The Food Revolution began in Huntington, West Virginia. Since then, all 28 Cabell County public schools (12,500 students) have an improved school lunch program and 8 other counties have begun introducing 100 percent from-scratch meals at breakfast and lunch.


• Jamie and the Food Revolution went to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
• The LAUSD removed flavored milk, chicken nuggets and hot dogs from their schools.
50,000+ supporters signed the ‘Sugary Milk’ petition to remove flavored milks from schools on a daily basis.
• As part of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act (signed into law in 2010) new school meal regulations were issued by the USDA. 25,000+ comments were submitted by the Food Revolution Community in support of these stronger school meal standards.


Final School Meal Standards were announced in early 2012 and they came into effect in the fall requiring schools to double the amount of fruit and vegetables, add more whole grains, reduce salt and unhealthy fats and ensure children are provided proper portions for their age. The team worked with partners to highlight the positive impacts of these standards, show how great school food can be and combat some of the negative press that some of the bigger changes, such as calorie limits, resulted in.
• School food toolkits and resources were updated and developed to help schools and parents understand and implement these new standards.
• Jamie Oliver joined up with food activist Bettina Siegel to support her ‘Pink Slime’ petition.
285,000+ people signed the petition and 41 members of Congress wrote to USDA Secretary Vilsack to demand an end to ‘Pink Slime’ in school lunches.
The USDA announced that from the 2012-2013 school year schools would have a choice in whether they purchase beef products containing ‘pink slime’ or not.


• In April, as part of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, the USDA announced the proposed rule for new ‘competitive food’ standards which apply to all food and drinks sold outside of the school lunch and breakfast programs, including vending machines, a la carte lines and school stores.
The team helped to get over 240,000 positive comments supporting strong final competitive food standards.
Over 97% of comments submitted were in support of stronger regulations.
• The Get Food Education in Every School campaign was launched by the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation in partnership with Food, aiming to raise awareness nationally about the critical importance of food education in schools and build a broad coalition for action in year two.

To find out more about the team’s work on policy, get in touch here.

Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA) Team


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