You won’t find Cheez-Its, Doritos and Cheetos in Montgomery County Public School cafeterias for much longer.
The school system confirmed it has added a batch of artificial food dyes and chemical additives to its “restricted list,” which means it won’t rebid for the products once contracts including those products expire.
Real Food for Kids – Montgomery — perhaps the most vocal group in calling for healthier food options in MCPS — announced the move in an email to supporters on Wednesday.
MCPS spokesperson Dana Tofig confirmed the school system’s Food and Nutrition Services department is adding the ingredients to its restricted list.
“In some instances the rebidding won’t take place for a few years, although we are always working with our current manufacturers to improve the quality and nutritional value of what we serve our students,” Tofig wrote in an email. “We took this action based on best practices and on input from parents and experts.”
Additions to the restricted list include five artificial food dyes, acesulfame-potassium, saccharin, trans fat, “pink slime” beef, MSG, BHA and an artificial sweetener.
That means no more Cool Ranch or Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos chips, Baked! Cheetos, Eagle Popped Crisps, Welch’s Fruit Snacks and several varieties of ice cream bars.
It also means frequent cafeteria entree items such as spicy chicken breast patties and orange chipotle sauce will be gone.
Real Food For Kids – Montgomery is a nonprofit that was key in getting MCPS to ban strawberry milk. It also quarreled with MCPS over snow day-influenced menu changes that meant two days of double-stuffed pizza in elementary schools during one week in January.
The group also made a wide-ranging list of recommendations for the entire school system (including salad bars in every cafeteria and more scratch-cooked meals) that picked up some support from members of the County Council. MCPS officials say they’re always looking to make improvements in their food offerings.
The group’s email on Wednesday announced a “Victory!!!” in its quest to ban particular food dyes and additives.
Tofig said Real Food For Kids members weren’t the only ones involved.
“While representatives from Real Food for Kids were among the parent voices we listened to, they were not the only ones. It is not accurate for them to say their efforts alone led to this move,” Tofig wrote.
Photo via Real Food for Kids – Montgomery