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Bettina Elias Siegel
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Bettina Elias Siegel is a nationally recognized writer and commentator on matters relating to children and food policy, with a particular interest in school food reform. She blogs at The Lunch Tray and can be found on Twitter at @thelunchtray.

Entries by Bettina Elias Siegel

School Food Fight: My Interview with Senator Debbie Stabenow

(0) Comments | Posted March 1, 2016 | 8:54 AM

Senator Debbie Stabenow

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, has consistently been a strong advocate for federal child nutrition programs. Along with Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), Stabenow recently helped broker

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Ted Cruz: 'If Heidi's First Lady, French Fries Return to the Cafeteria'

(0) Comments | Posted February 1, 2016 | 3:04 PM

Yeah, he said that last night at a rally in Des Moines, specifically addressing "the school-aged kids" in the audience. 

Cute, right?  

Two weeks ago, we went down this very same road with Governor Chris "I Don't Care What School Kids Eat" Christie,...

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Chris Christie's Shameless School Lunch Pandering

(3) Comments | Posted January 19, 2016 | 2:23 PM

Yesterday, it was widely reported that New Jersey governor Chris Christie was asked by an 11-year-old boy on the campaign trail what he'd do about school food if he were elected president.  According to CBS News, the boy nicely teed up the question for Christie with: "[School meals] were fine when...

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Don't Call Me a "Sanctimommy" Just Because I Care About My Kid's Food

(0) Comments | Posted December 7, 2015 | 3:45 PM

Over the weekend, Salon published a provocative piece, "Stop telling me I'm poisoning my kids": Food crusaders, sancti-mommies and the rise of entitled eaters."  In it, writer Jenny Splitter explains that her child has severe peanut and tree-nut allergies and so when she learned of a purported link between food allergies and GMOs, she...

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New McDonald's School Curriculum Teaches Kids 'Nothing Wrong With Fast Food'

(1) Comments | Posted October 15, 2015 | 3:14 PM

cisna book

McDonald's has come under fire in recent years for its incursion into schools through various charitable, educational and anti-bullying programs. While the company says these programs promote "children's well-being," critics see them as stealth marketing tools for a captive, impressionable audience.

But now the company has...

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No, Students Do Not Really "Hate School Lunches"

(15) Comments | Posted September 29, 2015 | 3:50 PM

By now many of you have likely read "Why Students Hate School Lunches," by Kate Murphy in this week's New York Times Sunday Review. Here's my one word reaction to the piece: GAH!!!!

Allow me to elaborate.

The overarching point of Murphy's piece is that the new...

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"Cupcake Amnesty:" Childhood Obesity and the Political Divide

(1) Comments | Posted January 13, 2015 | 11:45 AM

This morning in Austin, our state's newly elected Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is holding a press conference to announce his first official act in office.  But Miller won't use the occasion to address Texas's troubling water shortage, which he had promised to make his "top priority" if elected, nor will he discuss any other...

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Energy Drink Ads Still Reach Young Kids

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2014 | 11:51 AM

Two very different studies crossed my desk this week and, when read together, they point to a disturbing problem.

Earlier in the week, many media outlets reported on a new study in Pediatrics which adds to the growing evidence that energy drinks pose a serious danger to young children.  Looking at data from...

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Chicken Processed in China May Soon Appear on Your Child's Lunch Tray

(4) Comments | Posted November 19, 2014 | 4:04 PM

In August, 2013, the USDA made the controversial announcement that it will allow four Chinese facilities to process poultry raised in the U.S., Canada or Chile and then export that cooked chicken back to the United States.  This development was deeply troubling to many advocates due to China's terrible food safety record and the fact that (by the

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Why I'm So Annoyed by the Recent Debate Over Home Cooking

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 5:51 PM

Last week a debate over family dinner and home cooking erupted in the blogosphere -- and I'm here to tell you that just about everyone involved is ticking me off.

The scuffle began last week when Amanda Marcotte of Slate's XX Factor blog wrote "Let's Stop Idealizing the Home-Cooked Family Dinner," a...

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Why the Food Industry Is Running Scared of Internet Activism

(4) Comments | Posted July 10, 2014 | 11:11 AM

A new study by Dr. Brian Wansink, a professor of consumer behavior at Cornell University and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, seeks to determine why people -- mothers in particular -- develop so-called "food fears" about certain ingredients (such as sodium, fat, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, MSG and lean finely textured beef)...

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We Have the 'Cure' for Obesity, But Is the Pill Too Difficult to Swallow?

(2) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 6:30 PM

Many years ago, I mentioned to a doctor friend that a woman I knew -- a Seventh Day Adventist who never drinks alcohol -- had been told she was at risk for cirrhosis of the liver due to her poor diet and excess weight.  My doctor friend looked at me skeptically and said I must...

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Kathleen Parker on School Food: It's All the Feminists' Fault

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2014 | 2:52 PM

Last Friday, conservative Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker wrote an editorial praising the School Nutrition Association's (SNA) current attempts to roll back the nutritional improvements of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), derisively referring to the legislation as "the first lady's well-intentioned but disastrous school nutrition program, otherwise known as the...

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Saving School Food: A Letter to My (Imaginary) BFF Michelle Obama

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 11:28 AM

Dear Michelle,

Can I call you "Michelle?"  I know it's a bit presumptuous, what with you being First Lady and all, but for the last six years you and I have shared a beautiful friendship, one that's no less special for being entirely one-sided.

We have so much in...

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Chicken From China? Your Seafood Is Already Being Processed There

(7) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 10:22 AM

Thanks to our Change.org petition (307,000 signatures and rising), millions of Americans have learned that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is about to allow U.S chickens to be sent to China for processing, then shipped back to the U.S. for human consumption. This arrangement is particularly alarming...

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Chicken From China? Why You Should Be Worried

(3) Comments | Posted January 16, 2014 | 4:57 PM

In March 2012 I launched on The Lunch Tray a Change.org petition seeking to remove lean, finely textured beef ("LFTB," more widely known as "pink slime") from the ground beef procured by the USDA for the National School Lunch Program.  The petition garnered over a quarter of a million signatures in just...

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School Food Gets Its Close-Up -- But Is It a Fair One?

(0) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 6:03 PM

A lot of readers have recently asked for my thoughts on the Fed Up campaign, sponsored by Do Something, which asked kids around the country to send in photos of their school meals. (While the project has been going on for a while, it's gotten a lot of press in...

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Schools Meddle in Parents' Home-Packed Lunches: Why I'm Not Offended

(7) Comments | Posted November 27, 2013 | 9:58 AM

A few weeks ago, the Internet was buzzing over news reports that an elementary school in Richmond, VA -- allegedly in accordance with federal law -- is requiring parents to obtain a doctor's note if they want to send a home-packed lunch to school with their child. Then, last week,...

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It's OK: Let Elmo Be a Carrot Pusher

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2013 | 9:53 AM

Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that the Sesame Workshop and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) will join the Partnership for a Healthier America to help promote fruits and vegetables to kids.  Specifically, PMA's growers, suppliers and retailers will be allowed for two years to use iconic characters such as...

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Texas Passes Law to Keep Junk Food in Schools (Yeah, You Read That Right)

(37) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 4:12 PM

The USDA earned praise this past June when it released its ground-breaking new rules for "competitive" school food, i.e., the snacks and beverages that compete with the federal school meal and are offered to students through school stores, snack bars, vending machines and other outlets.  These new rules, while not perfect, will go...

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