Institute of Medicine Postpones Report on Nutrition Standards for School Food

March 26, 2007

by Rochelle Davis, HSC Executive Director

We received an alert today from The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools that
reads:

After two days of a tightly closed meeting, a committee of the Institute of Medicine
that is charged with setting nutrition standards for food served in schools
postponed the release date for a final report to April or May of this year.
That’s the third time the report has been postponed, possibly reflecting
controversy over its recommendations, which involve industries that sell
alternative foods to schools as well as school nutritionists and administrators.
Not known at this time is whether the report will challenge standards set by the
Department of Agriculture for the federally subsidized school lunch and
breakfast programs, though the report is expected to make recommendations
concerning soft drinks and other minimally nutritious foods offered in vending
machines in schools. Progress of the report can be tracked at www.iom.edu.

The delay concerns us. We’re hoping corporate interests are not having an undue influence on the recommendations, as these standards need to promote students’ health and wellbeing. We’ll continue to monitor the report’s release and post updates here.

For more background, here’s the IOM committee’s statement of task, along with notes from the committee’s first four meetings (scroll down). The nine most recent meetings — between May 2006 and March 2007 — have all been closed and notes were not posted.