External News: Food Bill Threatens L’Cafe and DECA departments

Grant Rayfield, Assistant News Editor

On February 25, Michelle Obama announced a new policy for food regulations in public schools, set to be instituted later this year. Although new requirements for school food providers have not yet become enforced policies, the changes will have a considerable effect on the Liberty community.

Michelle Obama’s bill includes a ban on advertising and sale of foods deemed unhealthy due to high calorie, sugar, fat, or sodium contents, further restricting the abilities of L’Café and DECA to market and sell many items on their menus. Among the items most at risk at L’Café are Italian sodas, macaroni, and smoothies, which may have to either be served in smaller portions or removed from the menu altogether, and nearly all the sodas and candy bars are at risk at DECA.

L’Café advisor Zara Matsuda does not believe that the restrictions imposed by the food bill will damage the L-Café program. There are enough menu options for the L-Café to function; she claims they will just have less tasty food with (as an example) more evaporated milk to replace cream.

“My knowledge of our school lunch guidelines comes down to a calorie count, and a lot of our food doesn’t fit in the calorie count because we use cream and butter, but that’s what happens when you make real food,” Matsuda said.

Meanwhile DECA advisor Chris Gapinski has voiced concerns about what the DECA program will be able to sell at their store: they will not be able to market any of their current candy bars due to the sugar and calorie counts of these items. Many of the existing sugary drinks are also at risk, but, like L’Café, they will be able to continue to sell them in smaller portion sizes.

“I think students are going to eat what they want. Changing the menu at schools where students eat roughly one meal a day for half the year will not solve the problem. Educating students about healthy eating and encouraging exercise, I believe, is a better approach,” Gapinski said.