Untitled 1 Healthy School Food Maryland

Our Accomplishments

Through our advocacy work, involving meetings and communications with the Director of Food and Nutrition Services and the Chief Operating Officer for MCPS,Donate as well as meetings with members of the Board of Education and multiple testimonies at 5 different Board of Education meetings, HSFM has already accomplished the following changes to the MCPS food and wellness environment.

May, 2018

MCPS reduced the frequency of pizza in elementary schools from twice to once a week. This occurred after we added repetition of pizza as one criteria (under Meal Variety and Repetition) in the School Food Environment Grades we produce with our coalition partners in Healthy School Food Maryland.

Spring, 2018

MCPS introduced new scratch cooked entrees:
- Chicken coconut curry
- Turkey chorizo
- Korean street tacos
- Mediterranean vegan entree salad (at right)
MCPS announced that there will be a reduction in the sugar in the chocolate milk from 22 grams (10 added) to 19 grams (7 added) next year.

Fall, 2017

MCPS reduced sugar breakfast offerings for breakfast in the classroom from 4 times to 3 times a week.

August, 2017

Prior ice creams in MCPS MCPS removed all ice creams with artificial colors (at left) prohibited by internal policy from our 2014 advocacy (Blue 2, Green 3, Red 3, Yellow 5, Yellow 6). See new line of products at right.

September, 2016


MCPS removed Cheetos (containing MSG, artificial flavors, and a variety of synthetic food dyes depending on the flavor) and Doritos (containing MSG and a variety of synthetic food dyes depending on the flavor) from a la carte options at all schools. Read more...

January, 2018 Update

MCPS has reintroduced a cleaner label Doritos called Wild White, which contains no artificial colors. This product came about due in part to the demand created when MCPS cancelled its order of traditional Doritos, and will eventually be made available to districts around the country.

March, 2016

Resolution HSFM passed a resolution through the Montgomery County Council of PTA (MCCPTA) that requests that MCPS transition to scratch-cooking in its central facility or in schools, reduce sugar in school foods, offer only healthy a la carte items in elementary schools, remove soda, sugar-sweetened and artificially-sweetened beverages from school vending machines and remove all synthetic dyes from school foods. It also asks for MCPS to put salad bars in all schools. The text of the official resolution

December, 2015


After almost three years of requests by HSFM, MPCS created a district-wide Wellness Committee, which included 50% non-MCPS employees and 25% parents, as we had requested. They also invited our Executive Director to sit on the committee. The committee met throughout the year and made recommendations on physical education, physical activity, mental health, nutrition, and the nutrition education curriculum. As of 9/29/16, we are still waiting for the final list of recommendations that were shared with the responsible offices in MCPS. MCPS COO Andrew Zuckerman confirmed in fall of 2016 that the committee will continue to meet and was intended to be a standing committee. Read more...

November, 2015

MCPS issued a new Wellness Regulation (JPG-RA) that prohibits products with carcinogenic artificial sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame potassium for school day sales. This effectively bans daytime sales of G2, a lower-calorie Gatorade product and Fruit Wave H20, a flavored, sweetened water sold in vending machines in middle and high schools. The new regulation was developed by a committee that met in the spring of 2015. The committee included HSFM's Executive Director, who lobbied for this and many other changes to the Wellness Regulation.

October, 2014

Vending machines

At our prompting, MCPS instructed their vending company to begin the removal of marketing messages on vending machine fronts for beverages that are not allowed in daytime sales to bring them into compliance with their own wellness policy.

September, 2014


MCPS announced a new policy prohibiting from future bids for school food many of the chemicals that HSFM had requested be removed. The following chemicals will be prohibited in future MCPS food: Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), trans fat, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 3, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Aspartame, Acesulfame-Potassium, Saccharin, Butylated Hydroxyanisol (BHA), Potassium Bromate, Propyl Gallate, Sodium Tripoly Phoshate (STPP), and Tert-Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ).

January, 2018 Update

MCPS' New Director of Food and Nutrition Services, Susan McCarron, has indicated that all future bid specs will include a prohibition on all artificial colors, except the non-toxic version of caramel coloring.

September, 2014

A trial of healthier vending and a la carte items began in Takoma Park Middle School. Trial results indicated that sales had rebounded to pre-trial levels by the end of the year. Nevertheless, the vending company and MCPS reinstituted less healthy vending and a la carte items in the school at the end of the one-year trial period.

August, 2014


Thanks to our advocacy at the June, 2014 Board of Education meeting, MCPS announced that starting in the 2014-2015 school year, any elementary school child purchasing lunch would be entitled to a free, 8 ounce bottle of water. We are still advocating for a more environmentally sustainable solution that gives children better access to water.

June, 2014

Karen Devitt Testifying

During a Board of Education meeting where HSFM delivered a petition with over 2000 signatures, MCPS school board members asked the Director of the Division of Food and Nutrition Services (Marla Caplon) to conduct a trial of water coolers and cups in a couple schools. Ms. Caplon also indicated that she was working to remove artificial food dyes from MCPS food and was developing a template for principals to use to send a la carte lists home to parents at each school.
Video of testimonies

May, 2014


At our request, MCPS replaced "Sidekicks" frozen juice sorbets containing artificial food dyes with two other flavors of "Sidekicks" without artificial colorings.

January, 2014

Strawberry milk

MCPS removed strawberry-flavored milk (containing 10 grams of added sugar from High Fructose Corn Syrup and Red Dye 40) from sales in all of its schools.

August, 2013

Vending machine BCC

At our request, MCPS agreed to delay turning on vending machines selling products not meeting their wellness policy (such as sodas and candy) until 30 minutes after the school day ends (rather than right after the last bell). Read more...
MCPS published a blurb on their web site indicating to parents that there are a la carte foods sold at the schools and that parents can limit their student's purchases by contacting their cafeteria manager. Read more...

June, 2013

Blurb from menu

At our request, MCPS published a blurb on their elementary school menus indicating to parents that there are a la carte foods sold at the schools and that parents can limit their student's purchases by contacting their cafeteria manager.

May, 2013

At our request, MCPS published a blurb on their elementary school menus indicating to parents that there are a la carte foods sold at the schools.

April, 2013

Healthy vending trial

At our request, MCPS agreed to a trial of healthier a la carte and vending products at Takoma Park Middle School.
At our request, MCPS removed Fruit Wave H20 and Fruit by the Foot from a la carte and wellness-policy approved vending machines (which are on during the school day) due to non-compliance with their own wellness policy.


"By serving the current foods in our schools, we are contributing to the ongoing childhood obesity epidemic and putting more & more of our children at risk for diabetes. Please work to improve the nutrition in our schools... our future depends upon the health of our children."
- an HSFM Supporter

"I am glad that this is being addressed I am appalled at some of the food that is being served to the students. I can not believe that "Honey Buns" (among other junkie foods) are being served for breakfast the most important meal of the day! I have been substituting in a Pre-Kindergarten class at a school for about four months. Most of the time the students don't eat the school breakfast and fruit is rarely served during breakfast. The frozen blue ice is horrible. Our children are precious and eating junk food does indeed slow them down throughout the day."
- a substitute teacher in MCPS

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