This just in from the Food Police Chronicles ….
A state employee required a preschooler at West Hoke Elementary in Raeford, North Carolina on January 30, 2012 to eat chicken nuggets during lunch because her lunch brought from home was not nutritious enough.
The child’s lunch contained a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, potato chips, and apple juice.
The state agent decided that the girl’s lunch did not meet USDA guidelines and required that the child be given a “healthier” alternative. Furthermore, the state agent apparently inspected all the children’s lunches that day in the four year old classroom. No word if other children were asked to eat chicken nuggets as well.
USDA guidelines mandate that all children’s lunches contain one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables even if the lunch comes from home. The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires child care providers to supplement children’s lunches with whatever compulsory items are missing.
The mother of the child who ate the three chicken nuggets, who prefers anonymity fearing retaliation, said she received a note from the school warning her that her child’s lunch was not nutritious enough and that noncompliance in the future could result in fees from the school cafeteria.
Since when are industrially processed chicken nuggets (aka “pink goo”) fried in genetically modified, rancid vegetable oils and nuked in a microwave healthier than a turkey and cheese sandwich and a banana brought from home?
School cafeterias don’t even qualify as real kitchens in most cases as cafeteria workers only have access to giant microwaves that quickly heat up the overly processed, factory fat laden, genetically modifed, agricultural dumping ground food they serve.
Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, says that bureaucratic rules require that schools buy food only from the cheapest bidder.
The sad truth is that only the cheapest, most nutritionless, most highly processed garbage food makes the cut for the school lunch program.
Many parents are choosing to pack their children’s lunches until better food is served at school, but apparently these efforts are being thwarted by the Food Police who are determining that homepacked meals are not up to snuff.
This story is yet another outrageous overstep by an overly aggressive, nanny style government increasingly insistent on raising our children according to its own standards while ignoring our own.
Only a lawsuit is going to stop this sort of thing from progressing and getting worse in the future. Hopefully, this mother can gather her courage and file a legal complaint immediately to force these overzealous government workers back in their bureaucratic box.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Source: Federal Agents Inspect Your Child’s Lunch
My kids are now 22 and 24, but this was true when they were in public school. My youngest daughter was in special ed, and at most every ARD they made a comment about her lunch that I sent to school. I always included things that I knew she wouldn’t eat just so it wouldn’t be an issue; one less thing to fight over.
I discovered this site after researching options for “USDA food options”. Today I was told that my son couldn’t bring his lunch to school if it didn’t meet the USDA guidelines. Being told that made me extremely upset, not at the teacher, but at this ignorant guideline. My son is an EXTREMELY picky eater. I can hardly get him to eat a variety of foods at home. I sympathize because I too am a picky eater. I know what it feels like to have sensitive taste buds and an aversion to certain food smells/looks/tastes. His lunch today contained a peanut butter sandwich, grapes, small individual pack of pringles, gatorade, and a pack of gummi fruit snacks. I even included a water along with cheese/crackers in his bookbag for snack time. I took the impression that I would be forced to pay for a lunch room meal to sit on the table in front of my son just so that it meets the USDA guidelines; although, I can bet that he wouldn’t eat it. Or, I need to include meals to meet guidelines; that I know he most likely will not eat! That means that my child would go hungry all day!!! I can assure that the school is not going to prepare a specialty meal to the likings of my child only. My son even had to have lacto-free milk as an infant. He doesn’t like milk. But, you can tell me that the school can be allowed to force him to drink it or nothing at all. PLEASE help me understand the process or justification behind the school system’s right to make nutritional choices for my child without my consent. So, I guess the school has the right to tell me how to spend my money on the foods I purchase!!! I have done well raising him for 4 years. He is of a normal, healthy weight; not malnourished and not obese. Obviously, I’ve been doing something right. I can understand the school stepping up and taking some initiative for malnourished or significantly obese children. I’m stuck at a hard place because the schools don’t offer refrigerators to keep lunch boxes cold or microwaves to warm foods. So what in the world do I pack to stand room temperature, to meet USDA guidelines, for a picky eater? When did pizza, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets become the most nutritional foods? The cafeteria definitely serves those options. In addition, cookies, chips, and ice cream can be sold in the cafeteria. I guess it’s ok to feed kids chips and ice cream in order to get that dollar. I would of never imagined that fixing a lunch box would involve so much headache and stress. I guess I need to check my son out at lunch time everyday to feed him and then check him back in so that he’s not starving and has energy to focus in school. I sometimes think that the school systems place a little to much energy/focus into the wrong areas. Why focus so much on what’s in a kids lunch box? Focus should be more on educational improvement!!!
What a terrible situation! At that point, I would go to school and make a big fuss. I would go to the lunch room with him and give him the lunch you make for him and sit there while he eats it. What are they going to do about it? Get a lawyer if you can afford one. Home school!? Please stand up for your son and for the rest of us because it will be happening a lot more frequently in more schools, apparently. Please check back in and let us know what happens.