Editor's note: Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Cooking With Grease: Stirring the Pots in America." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
It's been a long time. A very long time. But I cannot forget my first school lunch.
We've come a long way since then. Today, most public school children get perfectly balanced meals. School chefs use food selected to provide maximum nutrition, food that will enhance a student's well-being and learning abilities. Their standards come from federal nutrition experts in the U.S. Department of Agriculture who survey what important foods are missing from children's diets.
Regulations implementing the nutritional guidelines must be legislated by Congress. As it considers the Agriculture Appropriations Bill, Congress - especially House Republicans - will have to decide if it represents the interests of our children or of special food lobbyists.
For example, the Maryland-based School Nutrition Association has sought, and received, congressional support to grant a one-year waiver from the standards to schools that can demonstrate six months of financial loss. The group represents 55,000 school lunch workers and nutritionists. But The Washington Post quoted a health professional who said the group reflects its funders, who are mostly frozen food and agribusiness interests.
More on the politics of school lunch
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