This week on Eating Matters, host Kim Kessler is discussing school food with guests Laura Benavidez of the Los Angeles Unified School District and Mark Izeman, of the NRDC New York Urban Program. Specifically inspired by the recent story of six of the largest US school districts having switched to antibiotic-free chicken (including Laura’s district), Laura explains that this is intended to protect children’s health. Amid concerns about the rise of bacteria that gain resistance to conventional medicines, Mark shares the specifics of the usage of such antibiotics in food across the country. Under the new standards, all chicken products served in the districts must come from birds that were never fed antibiotics. Kim goes on to talk to Laura and Mark about the big switch, which is expected to take several years as contracts with food vendors expire and meat producers respond to the new standards, among other details surrounding the program. After the break, Dennis Dimick, editor of the food series at National Geographic, joins Kim for a discussion of the series and food issues occurring in the past year. This program was brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.

Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts, Classicstock/Corbis/National Geographic

A shared meal binds people together, family saying grace.

“Our major goal was food and where it comes from. It just doesn’t register in the public’s mind, and trying to get a connection between people in society and where food comes from and what it takes to make it happen and the impacts of it… that’s the under pinning of what you need to change policy.” [22:30]

Dennis Dimick on Eating Matters