As Garin Hughes picks through his school-lunch burrito and unidentifiable apple-pear dessert, he has a secret. Hidden underneath the eighth-grader's right leg is a chocolate cookie in shrink-wrapped plastic. In the past, his parents had no clue when he bought a treat at school. Now, thanks to a new school-lunch monitoring system, they can check over the internet and learn about that secret cookie.

Health officials hope the new system will increase parents' involvement in what their kids eat at school. It's a concern, because federal health data show that up to 30 percent of


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