The Congressional battle over regulating school lunch nutrition has drawn the attention of a number of activist groups that are trying to influence what’s on our kids' menus. One of them is the deceptively named “Physicians Committee” for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), an animal rights organization whose membership includes less than 5 percent actual MDs. PCRM is pushing a bill to encourage the adoption of vegetarian and vegan meals into schools across the country. For the unfamiliar, PCRM's president (a former president of PETA's parent group) has suggested that eating meat is “tantamount to suicide” and PCRM’s founder Neal Barnard has argued that cheese is “dairy crack.”
With a culinary prescription that ridiculous, we weren’t surprised to read in today’s South Florida Sun Sentinel that schoolchildren are voting against PCRM’s menu manipulation with their lunch trays:
[O]n a typical day, only about 16,000 of the 160,000 students buying a school lunch will choose vegan fare, even though it generally costs the same as more traditional foods or about 15 cents more.
The poor showing flies in the face of a newly-released study of student lunch preferences conducted in Broward schools by the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The national group, which espouses the benefits of a vegan diet, concluded that more than half of students would choose vegan options if they were offered….
"There was an initial period where it was popular," said [Director of Food and Nutrition Services Barbara] Leslie. "But now it's not really that popular."
Kids say the darndest things, and sometimes they speak volumes with their lunch money.