Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New City Nutrition Standards A Step Towards Healthy Food Access

On September 19th, Mayor Bloomberg announced an executive order which made New York City the first major city in the country to establish healthy standards for all food served at City agencies.

The City serves 225 million meals each year at City schools, public hospitals, senior centers and correctional facilities. The nutrition standards, developed by the City Food Policy Task Force, will require city agencies to comply with calorie and fat guidelines and take other steps towards providing healthier food, including: providing two servings of vegetables in lunches and dinners, phasing out deep frying, and lowering the salt content in all meals and snacks. If supported by further efforts to increase access to meals through initiatives like universal, in-classroom student breakfasts, the new standards may help to ensure that all City residents – especially children – have sustained access to enough healthy food.

The measure highlights the need for aggressive city policies to counteract hunger and poor nutrition among residents and to increase families’ access to healthy food beyond City meals by eliminating barriers to food stamp enrollment, bringing healthier options into neighborhood food stores and bodegas, and continuing to expand acceptance of food stamp benefits at farmers markets.

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