- Moms Across America (MAA) tested American school lunch samples to determine their levels of toxicity and nutrition
- MAA tested school lunches for glyphosate, pesticides, heavy metals, veterinary hormones, and nutrients and minerals
- High levels of glyphosate, pesticides, and heavy metals were found in a significant percentage of samples, while veterinary hormones were found in several samples
- The school lunches were shown to be broadly deficient of nutrients and minerals
- The high levels of toxicants and low levels of nutrition are linked to a variety of negative health consequences in children, especially impacting low-income children
Every day, millions of American children eat school lunches, yet shockingly little is known about what’s in them. The national coalition Mom’s Across America (MAA) has taken matters into their own hands, conducting tests on children’s school lunches that the federal government has failed to do. They tested 43 school lunch samples from across the country, divided into five main categories:
- Heavy metals
- Veterinary hormones
- Nutrients and minerals
Here are the results MAA found:
Glyphosate is a commercially popular weed killer that has been shown to cause cancer, endocrine disruption, and liver disease. The MAA study revealed a staggering 95.3% of the samples tested had detectable glyphosate levels. It was especially prevalent in wheat products,100% of which tested positive for glyphosate.
Of the 220 most harmful pesticides tested, 74% of school lunch samples contained at least one of them. Two notable pesticides were found in high levels:
- Thiabendazole (TBZ), an immunosuppressant, was found in 27.9% of samples, especially fruit, such as red and green apples.
- Piperonal Butoxide (PBO), which causes birth defects and brain dysfunction, was found in 41% of samples. Its highest levels were found in a hamburger.
Heavy metals, such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury, cause significant harm to children’s brain development. They are also linked to problems with the kidneys, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and cancer. Heavy metals were found in 100% of school lunch samples, with cadmium and lead present at the highest concentrations. Lead levels of .015 µg/kg can cause developmental delays in children; the highest level found in a lunch sample was 94.4 µg/kg.
Veterinary hormones, often given to livestock and present in meat, are linked to reproductive issues, early onset puberty, cancer, and heart problems. MAA found 4 different veterinary hormones present in 9 school lunch samples.
Nutrients and Minerals
In addition to harmful toxins, MAA also tested for various beneficial nutrients and minerals. They found the school lunches to be deficient in almost every category, most significantly copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Around 50% of samples lacked sufficient magnesium, zinc, and manganese. All of these minerals are vital to proper body function.
Nutrition is essential to our children’s physical, mental, and developmental health. The MAA study has revealed not only low nutrition in school lunches, but a host of actively harmful toxicants with myriad negative health consequences. This particularly impacts low-income children, for many of whom school lunch may be the only meal they eat that day.
Call to Action
School lunches must not only eliminate this unacceptable toxic load, but make meals more nutritious and healthy for our children at a national level. Our legislators paired with educators must make this action a top priority, on par with other countries globally. What’s in our children’s school lunches is tied to What’s Making our Children Sick.