Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Adam Putnam Takes Couragous Stand For Sugary Drinks

The Florida State Department of Education was set to make Florida the first state to ban the sale of chocolate milk. Incoming Agriculture Commissioner came to the rescue of chocolate milk drinkers everywhere.

Recently I was elected to serve as the next Commissioner of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). I am excited about this opportunity to champion programs and policies that improve the quality of life for Florida's citizens. One such area that I look forward to tackling is ensuring that Florida's students have better nutrition options to reduce obesity and related long-term health risks. This is a topic your Board has discussed recently for possible policy recommendations. However, instead of looking at the entire nutrition intake of students, you have chosen to focus only on the nutrition content in beverages served in Florida schools. It is my belief that any nutrition improvement plan needs to be certain that students are receiving the best possible nutrition package, in concert with total wellness initiatives, to allow them to reach their optimum achievement potential. I believe in this approach so much that I campaigned on doing what other states have done, and that is transferring the school feeding programs into FDACS, with a goal of improved nutrition and the development of better lifelong eating habits. First steps would be to take a comprehensive look at current school foodservice offerings, rather than making individual product recommendations that do not address the broader health picture. This comprehensive approach will need time to develop and I would appreciate your Board considering delaying any plans to address just a single component of the nutrition factors and instead allow time for a complete approach to building a healthier generation of Florida students.

Board of Education member John R. Padget said the vote to ban chocolate milk is on hold.

"I do think that, as a courtesy to the commissioner-elect, we obviously won't be taking any new votes on this on Friday," Padget said. "The real solution to the number of obese and overweight children in our society is that we all work together, so I don't take the commissioner-elect's interest in a negative way."

Putnam's letter

Putnam is asking that the State Board of Education to let the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services school nutrition guidelines. Part of the reason school nutrition has been so horrendous is because food wholesalers have heavily contributed to school board campaigns. If Putnam really cared about nutrition he would support the State Board of Education voting to ban chocolate milk. Instead, we see Putnam making a power grab for school nutrition guidelines. Putnam is seeing campaign dollar signs in his eyes like the true pol he is.


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