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
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