I am writing in regard to the disparaging editorial cartoon printed in the Oct.14 issue of The News-Times. Why did Jon Tanner portray such a negative image to the school lunch program? Has he even eaten in a school in the last several years? He might be quite surprised at the quality of food he would find.
Georgia has a 74 percent lunch participation rate among students in school - that ranks third in the nation. More than 25 percent of the students eat breakfast at school. That translates to 342,290 breakfasts served daily. If the meals at school are so bad, why would so many students be eating meals at school each and every day?
As a registered dietitian, I am well aware of the stringent regulations with which school kitchens must comply. They are regularly inspected by the local health departments, they must meet nutrition guidelines determined by the United States Department of Agriculture, the schools are annually reviewed by qualified directors of school nutrition, and they are also reviewed on a regular schedule by members of the state Department of Education and USDA. I doubt that any restaurant in Augusta is checked so frequently.
The timing of Tanners cartoon was especially inconsiderate since National School Lunch Week was celebrated Oct. 15-19. I believe he owes a public apology to the hardworking women and men who spend lots of hours, on their feet, in very hot kitchens in order to serve the students in our schools. They come to work everyday to prepare tasty and nutritious meals for students so that students are energized and ready to learn.
The school nutrition staff members are part of the team that educates students, and should be respected as such.
Kathy Belinski, RD, LD, Martinez
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