"Cafeteria Man" Speaks Up For New School Nutrition Standards

Tony Geraci transformed school lunch menus in Baltimore
Tony Geraci transformed school lunch menus in Baltimore

A school nutritionist making a national splash for bringing healthier meals to school cafeterias says bowing out of the federal school lunch program because of new, more stringent nutrition requirements is a disservice to kids.

Tony Geraci (jer RAY see) was a guest Monday morning on 90.3's The Sound of Ideas. He says it takes kids time to adjust to new menus being rolled out across the country, but schools should stay committed to the new standards.

It's about access," Geraci says. "It's about making sure that kids have better choices. And I think if you surround them with better choices, they make better choices."

Some school districts argue that kids aren't eating the new meals they're offering, and a few have opted to turn down federal dollars to avoid having to serve them.

Geraci acknowledges that some schools are struggling with new guidelines contained in the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. Some don't have the cooking capability, while others struggle with access to fresh produce year-round.

Geraci's efforts in Baltimore are featured in the PBS documentary Cafeteria Man that airs Monday night on WVIZ public television. He is currently Director of School Nutrition in Memphis.

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