Hatched: Monday, October 25th, 2010

The A in USDA is supposed to stand for Agriculture, but these days, it might more appropriately stand for Absence.  Touting a desire for healthier school lunch choices, the federal agency responsible for the nation’s farms and farmers, which includes farmers who raise animals for meat, is sponsoring a recipe contest that excludes…wait for it…meat.

Categories available for this national contest?  Kids can choose from the following tasty choices:  whole grains, dark green and orange vegetables, or dry beans and peas.  We’re not suggesting there is anything wrong with any of these not-so-child-friendly choices – but on the plate, not at the center of it.

So is the assertion that USDA believes meat protein is not a healthy lunch selection?  Or is USDA abandoning its commitment to farmers of all shapes, species and sizes?  When you consider the great protein and nutritional assets of meat, and the essential role that protein plays in children’s ability to learn, it seems implausible that USDA would promote a non-meat recipe contest for schools.

And for USDA to leave out meat – when our nation produces nearly 27 billion pounds of beef, more than 21 billion pounds of pork, almost 37 billion pounds of chicken and about 6 billion pounds of turkey – seems like more than just a mere promotional oversight for the nation’s only federal agency dedicated to farming.

What the cluck?

Want to learn more?  To take a chance and submit a meat-based protein recipe to the agency?   Visit for full contest details.

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