Wednesday, October 19, 2011

DOCTORS NAME HEALTHIEST SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAMS IN US: Los Angeles, Denver, and Greenville, S.C., Take Top Honors

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine NEWS RELEASE |

October 19, 2011

Schools in Los Angeles, Denver, and Greenville, S.C., Take Top Honors in Golden Carrot Awards; Winning Menus Emphasize Fruits, Vegetables, Vegetarian Meals

WASHINGTON—School cafeterias across the country are ditching the mystery meat and serving up fruits, vegetables, and healthy plant-based meal options. During National School Lunch Week, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) announced the winners of its 2011 “Golden Carrot Awards” for innovation in school food service. The grand prize goes to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education and Superintendent John Deasy. Two runner-up prizes go to food service professionals in Denver and Greenville, S.C.

PCRM established the Golden Carrot Awards in 2004 to recognize food service professionals doing an exceptional job of improving the healthfulness of school lunches. PCRM looks for programs that encourage kids to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and that offer plenty of vegetarian, low-fat, whole grain, and nondairy options. If a student chooses a plant-based meal option even once a week, he or she can reap important benefits. A veggie burger, for example, is similar in protein content to a hamburger. However, while the hamburger has 15 grams of fat, the veggie burger has only 5 and contains almost no saturated fat or cholesterol.

This year’s Golden Carrot winners:

On behalf of the Los Angeles Unified School District, food services director Dennis Barrett and food services deputy director David Binkle will receive the grand prize for the creative food service program they direct at LAUSD in Los Angeles. PCRM will give $3,000 to Mr. Barrett and Mr. Binkle to benefit the district’s innovative food service program. LAUSD offers a new menu this year, full of nutritious, plant-based menu options. “I’M IN,” a social awareness campaign, links healthy eating to graduation.

Gianna Cassetta founder of SOAR, a Denver charter school, will receive a $1,000 runner-up award to benefit the school’s food service program, which offers a diverse range of delicious vegetarian menu options. Student favorites include vegetarian BBQ riblets, spaghetti marinara, and the fresh salad bar. SOAR omits meat, sugar, and limits processed foods.

Ron Jones and Jennifer Sharp, R.D., food service professionals with Greenville County Schools in Greenville, S.C., will receive a $1,000 runner-up award to benefit the district’s food service program. Mr. Jones and Ms. Sharp redesigned lunch menus at 11 elementary schools this year and revolutionized culinary training for 80 food service operators.

For more information about any of the Golden Carrot winners, please contact Jessica Frost at 202-527-7342 or

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research,and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

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