First Soda, Now School Junk Food: Clinton Deal Claims Lower-Cal Crunch

"Kids will buy what they want. We just stop by the bodega on the way home." So says one thirteen year old, unimpressed by what the adults have just signed -- a "voluntary agreement" between five snack food makers (Kraft, M&M Mars, Campbell Soup Co., Dannon, and PepsiCo), the American Heart Association, and the Clinton Foundation in round two of the former president's voluntary intiatives to discourage bad eating habits in America's schools. The "deal" is this: where schools agree to follow "Competitive Food Guidelines," vending machines will stock only products that contain no more than 35 percent of their calories from fat, no more than 10 percent saturated fat, and no more than 35 percent of sugar content by weight. Although the guidelines have been commended, implementation raises doubts. Janey Thornton, president of the School Nutrition Association, said, "It has to have some enforcement behind it... . [S]ome states have none and that's where I think the problem comes in." The Center for Science in the Public Interest noted that local schools and vending machine companies could completely ignore the program. Gary Ruskin, director of Commercial Alert, criticized the initiative as "a sham and a public relations stunt" by junk food firms.