MCPS to Restrict Certain Additives in Cafeteria Food

School system says it’s always working to improve nutritional quality of the food it sells


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Montgomery County Public Schools is working to eliminate several additives from food it serves in schools.

The additives include specific artificial food dyes, artificial sweeteners containing aspartame, lean finely textured beef—commonly referred to as pink slime—and MSG, the salt-like substance often used in Chinese cooking.

MCPS spokesman Dana Tofig said the additives are being added to a list of restricted ingredients when the school system rebids for products.

“In some instances the rebidding won’t take place for years,” Tofig said in an email, “although we are always working with our current manufacturers to improve the quality and nutritional value of what we serve our students. We took this action based on best practices and input from parents and experts.”

The move was praised by Real Food for Kids Montgomery, an advocacy group that lobbied the school system to restrict additives in the food products it buys.

“We’re really excited that MCPS has listened to parent concerns and acted on them,” Lindsay Parsons, the group’s co-director, said in a statement. “There are many excellent, clean-label snacks available these days and we look forward to seeing some of these healthier snack options take the place of items that adversely impact student health and learning.”

The elimination of products containing certain additives means that eventually items such as Cheez-It Crackers, Welch’s Fruit Snacks, Baked! Cheetos and Doritos will no longer be sold in school cafeterias, according to the advocacy group.

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