What’s for lunch: Cheetos with cheese?

Recently, Slow Food USA President Josh Viertel visited with some high school students in California, one of whom shared with him the gory tale of hot Cheetos with melted cheese on top. In a bag. With a fork. Lunch on the go! We asked our mole, Rameen, to send us a picture. Whoahhhhh.

He reported that his school cafeteria sells them—not in the lunch line, but in one of the “competitive foods” lines. He said they appeal to students whose lunch period is too short to wait on a long lunch line. In his words, they’re “very gross…we could use some help. It would be cool not to have to pack bag lunches for the rest of my high school life!” When we asked him to explain a little more how he feels about the school selling this stuff as lunch, he said:

“I really hate seeing this kind of food going around at the school because it probably causes some of the most long term problems in any of the kids at my school. I’m not going to lie, many kids at my school are overweight. One student was so big, he broke his ankle just by trying to run. Fortunately, that problem doesn’t affect me directly, but it affects my friends and people i care about. If this kind of food is the only food a student can get at his school without wasting his whole day waiting in line, well every kid is going to have to pack bag lunches to school for the rest of their high school lives.”

(via Slow Food Usa)

Michael Moss, While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales, N.Y. Times, Nov. 7, 2010, at A1:

Americans now eat an average of 33 pounds of cheese a year, nearly triple the 1970 rate. Cheese has become the largest source of saturated fat; an ounce of many cheeses contains as much saturated fat as a glass of whole milk….

Consider the Taco Bell steak quesadilla, with cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella and a creamy sauce. “The item used an average of eight times more cheese than other items on their menu,” the Agriculture Department said in a report, extolling Dairy Management’s work — without mentioning that the quesadilla has more than three-quarters of the daily recommended level of saturated fat and sodium….

On Oct. 13, Domino’s announced the latest in its Legends line of cheesier pizza, which Dairy Management is promoting with the $12 million marketing effort.

Called the Wisconsin, the new pie has six cheeses on top and two more in the crust. “This is one way that we can support dairy farms across the country: by selling a pizza featuring an abundance of their products,” a Domino’s spokesman said in a news release. “We think that’s a good thing.”

A laboratory test of the Wisconsin that was commissioned by The Times found that one-quarter of a medium thin-crust pie had 12 grams of saturated fat, more than three-quarters of the recommended daily maximum. It also has 430 calories, double the calories in pizza formulations that the chain bills as its “lighter options.”

According to contract records released through the Freedom of Information Act, Dairy Management’s role in helping to develop Domino’s pizzas included generating and testing new pizza concepts.

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