Niagara Gazette

Community News Network

June 10, 2013

National parks to offer healthier food under new standards

WASHINGTON — The consumption of rubbery hot dogs and cellophane-wrapped sandwiches of indeterminate age is a time-honored rite of passage for generations of families making the trek to national parks around the country.

But the National Park Service is determined that the American experience now include the option of free-range chicken breast with sweet potato cake and fennel salad, or cumin-scented rockfish tacos, maybe topped off with a locally grown berry yogurt parfait, all washed down with shade-grown coffee picked by workers whose rights have been protected under fair-trade agreements.

The park service last week introduced new food standards that will eventually require concessionaires at all national parks, from the Statue of Liberty to Denali, to offer healthy food options, including fruits and vegetables, low-sodium and low-fat meals, reduced portion sizes, and non-sugary drinks.

The initiative also includes guidelines encouraging concessionaires to use local, sustainable foods when possible, including seafood certified as sustainable, meat without hormones and antibiotics, and coffee harvested using worker-friendly standards.

The effort, part of first lady Michelle Obama's healthy diet initiative, is based on the premise that a family journey to Yellowstone, Yosemite or the Grand Canyon should not compromise one's nutritional well-being.

"There is no reason to take a vacation from eating well when you visit a national park," park service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis told an audience last week at a food kiosk near the Lincoln Memorial where the program was unveiled and free samples handed out.

Millions of tourist dollars and billions of calories are at stake. The park service sells meals to 23 million people each year, and the standards will apply to more than 250 food and beverage operations nationwide.

Wary of backlash from critics of "food police," administration officials are careful to note that hot dogs, pizza, soda and ice cream will still be available.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 21, 2014

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page