"I had planned to work in the L.A. schools to try to figure out how school food could be better—and, ideally, cooked from scratch. Thousands of outraged parents, not to mention teachers and principals, wanted me in their schools. But I couldn’t even get in the door: the Los Angeles Unified School District banned me from filming any of their food service operations, claiming that they didn’t need me because they were already leading the charge."
--Jamie Oliver, Wall Street Journal op-ed, April 10, 2011.
"'We have already extended an invitation to Mr. Oliver to help LAUSD (sans cameras) with its menu committee or design a yearlong menu that meets all the health and nutritional requirements set forth by the federal and state government,' LAUSD spokesman Robert Alaniz said. He added: 'The invitation still holds.'"
--from a report in the Los Angeles Times, April 7, 2011
Oliver's Food Revolution TV show was scheduled to begin its second season on Tuesday, April 12 with six episodes that will include Oliver's side of his disagreement with LAUSD as well as his appearance before the California branch of the School Nutrition Association (SNA).
According to FM's original report on the controversy, LAUSD had asked Oliver to design a three-week menu cycle for its schools that meets all federal school lunch program requirements as well as local requirements, plus cost no more than 77 cents per serving (LAUSD's per-meal food cost allotment, after labor and overhead). The meals would also have to be able to be produced in all district kitchens, many of which lack the facilities for the kind of scratch cooking Oliver prefers. He had so far not agreed to to pursue such a "reality-based" school meal challenge.
For its part, the national SNA is encouraging members to use the opportunity to promote their programs and talk about the healthy menu choices they are serving.