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Home » Newspaper News

Fast food lunches do not meet federal health requirements

March 20, 2014
James F Byrnes Freshman Academy

Fast food items are not allowed to be sold at James F. Byrnes High School and Byrnes Freshman Academy (BFA) due to the restrictions in a contract currently in place between the school and a lunch company by the name of Chartwells.

The contract states that Chartwells must follow the Unites States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines. There is no part of the contract concerning the specific area of the selling of fast foods, but one of the requirements is that food in schools must be a “‘whole grain-rich’ product.”

Fast foods do not typically comply with this standard.

According to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), a rule on competitive foods was established in February of 2013. The idea of the rule is to “ensure that competitive foods and beverages are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”

Branded fast foods do not meet many of the guidelines, which is the reason why Byrnes does not allow it.

According to Chartwells’ website, their company is a, “diverse family of food and nutrition specialists dedicated to providing the academic community with innovative, healthy dining options.”

Brandon Lewis, Dining Services Director for Spartanburg District 5, stated, “I think it’s a good thing” referring to the guidelines that the school must follow.

But, “I think it’s a choice personally whether or not you want to eat healthy,” Lewis added.

Lewis feels as if high school students should get a choice of what they want to eat for lunch at school; however, he believes that with these guidelines, younger generations can be taught to make the right choices when it comes to their diet.

Many students at BFA disagree with the state requirement and think that fast food would be a good option for students.

Chick-Fil-A, McDonalds, and Zaxby’s are the restaurants that Patrick Hayes, student at BFA, would like to have for lunch.

Brianna Dobbins and Savannah St. Peter, also students at BFA, agreed with Patrick’s idea of Chick-Fil-A being a lunch option.

Statistics show that 20% of schools in America sell branded fast food; high schools were the majority of this percentage. Domino’s, Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Subway, and Little Caesar’s are the top five most common fast food brands sold in schools.

Mr. Jackson, vice principal at Byrnes Freshman Academy, said that he did not think there was a possibility of fast food becoming an option at Byrnes High School or BFA.

At Eastside High School in Taylors, South Carolina, fast food options for lunch include Papa Johns and Chick-Fil-A. Eastside also has the option of regular school lunches, like any other school.

“I would love it; that would be the best thing ever!” Patrick Hayes loved the idea of fast food sold for lunch.

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