WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided to combat the onslaught of paltry school lunch photos being posted by students on social media by publishing some of their own.

Call it an attempt to win the PR battle as the skimpy, disgusting school lunches appearing on Facebook and Twitter continue to turn the stomachs of students and parents alike.

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“We have all seen those unappetizing photos of food served at school that quickly go viral. A lonesome whole wheat bun atop a sad fish fillet; a mysterious-looking meat mixture served next to an apple,” writes Deborah Kane, national director of the USDA Farm to School Program on the department’s blog.

That one was particularly revolting and even caused school administrators to apologize. In case you missed it, here it is to the right.

After the photo began circulating around the community a couple weeks ago, Portsmouth (Va.) Public Schools Food Service Coordinator Jim Gehlhoff admitted the lunch “concerns us,” but added that it might not actually be as bad as it looks.

“Poor lighting and food presentation make this lunch unappealing,” he said in a statement released to the media.

Kane writes in her blog titled “Photo-Worthy Meals:”

It’s natural to ask, “Is this what they serve for lunch!?”

No, it’s really not.

In my ideal world, the Internet would be abuzz with photos like the one (to the right), also a school lunch featuring a fish fillet, taken at Samuel J. Green Charter School in New Orleans.

Alas, the photo published by the government is, indeed, an “ideal world,” and one free of the pesky poor lighting that allegedly plagued the “sad fish fillet.”

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In the real world, meanwhile, students continue to bring attention to the lunches being served in their school cafeterias.

And as you can see, they’re a far cry from the examples being pushed by the USDA PR team.



Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, are moving to “loosen” the stringent rules regulating calorie and sodium amounts — but not fully repeal them.

“I think everybody wants to make sure that our disadvantaged kids have access to nutritious meals, but that doesn’t mean we have to have rigid mandates,” says House Education and Workforce Committee chairman Rep. John Kline, according to the Star Tribune.

“I think we need to have a little more confidence and trust in the states and districts.”

The paper reports Republicans may “insert language in next year’s spending bill that would stop requirements for increased whole grains” and freeze further restrictions on sodium.