02.17.2012 2

Food Police go after preschooler, confiscate homemade lunch for being “unhealthy”

By Rebecca DiFede — Turkey and cheese sandwich on multigrain bread, banana, potato chips and apple juice; sounds like a healthy lunch right? All food groups are represented, it seems balanced, and is quite typical of something a small kid would want to eat.

However, when state agents inspected the lunch of a four year old student at West Hoke Elementary in Raeford, North Carolina, they deemed that it was not compliant with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations and required that she eat a school lunch. Which, by the way, consisted of fried, processed chicken nuggets.

These state agents from the Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services were acting in compliance with regulations they claim have control over all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs to conform to the USDA standards. This means they must contain one serving of meat, one serving of dairy, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables.

The lunch that the little girl’s grandmother packed her was completely consistent with that framework, and yet she was told it was insufficient and that she needed to get a new lunch, and charged a fee of $1.25 for her trouble. How insensitive, not to mention insane and outlandish to do that to a small child who has no idea about any of the concepts of nutrition, but only knows that what her grandmother made her was somehow bad for her.

The sheer notion that minions of the state are allowed to enter cafeterias and inspect homemade lunches is terrifying. What happened to the rights of the parent to decide what is best for their child? What about the money saving aspect of making lunches at home, only to run the risk of the uneaten lunch being sent home with a bill from the cafeteria?

This speaks to a larger issue of the government wanting to be an integral part of our every-day lives. This administration seems to want to put a hold on every aspect of the nation, even its children, to make sure they conform to the specifications of our illustrious president and his wife, the Sheriff of the Food Police.

For it was she who launched her Let’s Move campaign in the summer of 2011, attempting to inspire people to eat healthier and combat childhood obesity, although the impact was much grander than that. Michelle Obama put so much focus on nutrition that she petitioned stores selling healthy food to expand to neighborhoods which she classified as “underserved”, while in the process nearly guaranteeing that the process would result in massive job creation for the community.

But instead, it created a panic that rippled across the nation, changing cafeteria standards in schools across America, to the point where investigative agents can come into the lunch room and search or confiscate lunches depending on whether or not they are deemed “healthy”.

And then, as if that isn’t enough, charging the parents a fee for the school lunch that the government forced upon their child? That is treading on the very edge of insanity.

Since when does the government (or the school) decide what types of food children are allowed to eat for lunch? Sure, there can be rules about what the cafeteria at the school can serve, especially if it’s publically funded, but regulations on what can be packed from home? Completely disregarding the rights of the parents to control what types of food their child eats?

This is only the first misstep on the slippery slope of big government and the country needs to wise-up and speak out against it before the government starts sending in chef’s to people’s homes to make sure they only eat “healthy” meals.

Rebecca DiFede is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government.

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