In efforts to stem the growing trend of childhood obesity, California lawmakers passed legislation in 2005 that restricted the sugar and fat content levels in food sold on public school campuses. The law went into effect in 2007, but outcry from parents and students against the regulations is bringing the nutritional restrictions to the notice of the national public. While the focus is currently on California, over 600 school districts across the country have similar strictures, with Kentucky campuses being subject to the strictest regulations.
The ubiquitous cafeteria lunch lady, catapulted to fame in the mid-90s by a Saturday Night Live musical skit starring Adam Sandler and Chris Farley, has switched sides, abandoning Michelle Obama to fight alongside millions of famished children
But a POLITICO report says the move could be politically-motivated:
Fast-forward to today: [the School Nutrition Association] is standing shoulder to shoulder with House Republicans, pushing to grant schools waivers from the requirements if they are losing money and aiming to relax the standards when the law is reauthorized next year.
“The current direction is very isolationist,” said Kevin Concannon, the Agriculture Department’s undersecretary for food and nutrition, in an interview. “It’s inexplicable and very unfortunate. Somehow their leadership decided that they’re just going to swing for the fences.”
The story behind the school lunch flip-flop is a complicated web of lobbying change-ups, industry influence and partisan posturing inside the Beltway. It also casts a spotlight on how difficult it is to make the economics of school meals work — and just how much resistance there can be to Washington directing nationwide change.
As a way of trying to combat the idea of childhood obesity, there is apparently a law in North Carolina where school officials check lunch boxes for the nutritional value of the lunch, then offer up a lunch that meets USDA guidelines. However, an incident at the West Hoke Elementary School is getting a lot of attention lately.
From the Carolina Journal:
RAEFORD - A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because a state employee told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.
The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the agent who was inspecting all lunch boxes in her More at Four classroom that day.
The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs - including in-home day care centers - to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.
When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement them with the missing ones.
The girl’s mother - who said she wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter from retaliation - said she received a note from the school stating that students who did not bring a “healthy lunch” would be offered the missing portions, which could result in a fee from the cafeteria, in her case $1.25.