Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Food Police are on the prowl!

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
A state inspector (not sure what that means) checking a Raeford, N.C., elementary school lunchroom decreed that a 4-year-old’s lunch from home — a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice — did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the Carolina Journal story. Instead, the child was given cafeteria chicken nuggets.
That article is based on a story from the Carolina Journal:
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.
So, apparently what went on--at the West Hoke Elementary School--is that an inspector from some State agency was busy inspecting preschool lunches brought from home and determined that at least one of them did not meet the USDA standards for a healthy lunch. A turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, chips, and some juice. Not a healthy meal. Uh-huh. The child was instead fed processed, pressed, breaded, and fried pieces of chicken, along with some other things that she chose not to eat. And the parent was then charged a fee--$1.25--for this "healthier" alternative.


In all fairness, as the AJC article points out, we don't have the whole story here. Maybe the child was habitually not eating her lunch at all and the school was merely trying to make sure she ate something. But then, I have a preschooler whose lunch I pack everyday and frankly, she's gonna eat what she's given if she's hungry. If she's not, she'll eat when I pick her up from school. Sure, we want children to eat foods that are good for them, but they can't be forced to eat. If the child here was having problems, the proper course of action would have been to contact the parents/guardians and discuss the issue, not declare a wholly appropriate lunch "unhealthy" and force the child to eat cafeteria food, then bill the parents.

So while there may be missing information, I can't see how the incident could look much better. It's still crossing a line, and I'm pretty sure the last thing we need is a cadre of food police inspecting the bag lunches of children.

Cheers, all.


  1. Oh my goodness this is another reason to Home School !

  2. We have home schooled all our children, 3 are in college, one yet to graduate high school. It has certainly worked well here.

    This incident is just the frost on the tail feathers of the lonely penguin impaled upon the tip of the iceberg. I mean to imply "there just might be more."

    There is an all out assault on the very concept of family in our "culture" - the public school system is a major player, at the behest of the federal government and the Department of Education. But it goes deeper.

    For we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but powers and principalities. Paul said that, couple thousand years ago.

  3. This incident looks to be specific to North Carolina, oddly enough. It seems the lunch box "inspection" was a state--not a federal--thing.

    'Course, no telling what's around the corner...

  4. Hi, Robert. Found you through Roy K.

    Read the Carolina Journal story yesterday. Didn't surprise me, but it did sadden me. I'd much rather see schools put energy and resources into academics instead of policing lunch boxes. And as you pointed out, if there was a problem, the appropriate course of action would have been to involve the parents. Seems obvious. Troubling that in this case it wasn't.

  5. Thanks for the comment, Aimee. And yeah, there are more important things schools should be worrying about. But it also bothers me that chicken nuggets are somehow a better lunch than a nice homemade turkey and cheese sandwich...