Published February 15, 2012
Are you kidding me?
The “food police” are out, so parents beware.
A North Carolina preschooler came to school with a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, apple juice and potato chips – and her lunch was promptly replaced with chicken nuggets from the cafeteria.
According to reports, a state agent who was inspecting lunch boxes that day decided the girl’s packed lunch did not have enough nutritional value. A regulation put into place by the Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires that all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs meet federal nutritional guidelines.
If a child’s home-packed lunch does not meet the standards, child care providers are instructed to supplement the lunch with missing items.
Here’s the thing - I fully understand there are many kids in this country who go to school without a balanced meal for lunch. And even worse, there are also many who go to school without any lunch or without money to even buy lunch.
So I see there’s an obligation for school districts to make sure nutritional standards are met. I get it, and I get why it’s so important.
But that is completely different from randomly inspecting kids’ lunch boxes and deciding if what’s packed is good enough or not – and then telling the kids what they have to eat instead.
Yes, if you find a mother or father sends a child with a bag of potato chips, a Twinkie and a soda for lunch, you may have the duty to call up the parents and say, ‘Hey, haven’t you read this stuff is bad for you? Here’s what we strongly suggest to do for your child.’
And if those parents remain negligent, then it may be necessary to have a conversation about punitive damages, but in this specific case, this little girl brought in what, by all accounts, looks like a pretty good lunch to me.
I would certainly argue that her sandwich and banana were probably better than the over-processed chicken nuggets they had her eat instead.
Stand up, America. Tell me what you think of the government employing “food police” to make these decisions in our children’s schools.
Also, feel free to sound off in my weekly live chat today at 2pm ET, where I’ll be answering your health questions.