Processed food should be banned from school meals due to increasing health issues in children, increasing academic deficiency and increasing production cost to produce processed foods. There are people who would oppose to this idea due to population growth and an increasing food demand. However, this escalating demand of food is forcing the food industry and other government agencies to resolve the current hunger and lack of resources issues, by hiring processing factories and private companies to manufacture processed foods. The greater part of school age children consume processed foods on a daily basis.
The purpose of this study is to examine what are processed foods? What are the associated problems? Also, to determine if processed foods affect students’ health and their academic performance. In addition, what is the position of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and food industry in the distribution of processed foods in schools? Also, to determine the outcome of this study, the behavior and health of students along with the governing agencies were analyzed to establish, if processed foods should be banned from schools or just monitored carefully.
Discussion of key terms
What are processed foods? It is food “composed of synthetic chemical additives, such as colorings, preservatives, sugar substitutes and trans-fats” (Fitzgerald, 2006, p.72). Fitzgerald reported that by the “1970s most meats and dairy products that were factory farmed were laced with growth hormones, antibiotics and a range of pesticides” (p.72). Furthermore, food that is frozen, packaged and canned is considered processed food. A brief explanation of the chemical additives in processed food.
1. Preservatives such as Buylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and Sulfites are infused in foods. BHT, which is (commonly used) is considered to be a fat-soluble and an antioxidant. However, it is “investigated for potential genetic damage and promoting cancer” (Mateljan, nd, para.1, 4). “Sulfites are prohibited to be used in foods that provide vitamin B1, because it can destroy the vitamin. In addition, it has been found that it aggravates asthma in children and adults” (para. 7).
2. Artificial Coloring better known as “FD&C yellow#5(tartarzine) and FD&C Blue#2 (Indigo carmine). The consumption of these additives is associated with ADHD (attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder), asthma and inflammatory skin conditions” (Mateljan, nd, para. 3).
3. Sugar Substitutes are recognized as artificial sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup and another sweetener component known as aspartame. High fructose is cheap and found in many soft drinks, it promotes addiction and craving. Aspartame is a controversial health concern, it is an additive that is composed of two amino acids, and it is used in many processed products. However, “animal experimentation results showed the development of seizures and brain tumors after the consumption of...