The poultry production technique known as "plumping" involves injecting chicken or turkey with saline solution, chicken stock, or seaweed extract. This widespread but legal practice is used by some companies for the purposes of adding weight to their finished product, drawing scorn from consumer groups and health advocates alike. But now, thanks in part to the determined efforts of a few Windward middle school students – and the support they raised from lawmakers and health advocates – "plumped" chicken may soon disappear from public cafeterias and concessions across California.
This group of young teens began their journey to end poultry plumping last academic year, when Windward science faculty member Geraldine Loveless engaged her middle school students with a project designed around active learning and civic engagement. In the challenge-based assignment, students were tasked with ways of using food as a springboard to improve their local community in some manner. Divided into groups, students took a wide range of approaches to the challenge, from promoting organic lunch options to devising educational campaigns about healthy eating choices. The completed projects were presented at a culminating Food Challenge fair last spring, with guests from Mar Vista and the surrounding community visiting Windward to learn more about the students’ efforts. Read More
Bill Mattos (far left), President California Poultry Federation and Assemblymember Ian Calderon (center) with the
Windward School students