The recent confiscation of a four-year-old’s homemade lunch, which resulted in her being given chicken nuggets instead, has outraged people all over the United States. Many comments on the Internet have made it clear that this is not an isolated incident, but that many similar actions have occurred, not only in preschools, but in elementary schools as well.
The Federal government is attempting to dictate what constitutes a healthy meal, and what every child should eat. While the intent might be good, the execution is a disaster, as flawed standards are dictated, and these standards are required for every child, regardless of their individual needs. The basic human right of parents to select food for their children is completely ignored.
The inevitable result is that the children are much worse off, because their needs as individuals are ignored.
Federal Standards Ignore Quality and Individuality
The federal government has decided that all children in preschools, even home preschools, will have a lunch that consists of the following:
- One serving of meat or meat substitute;
- One serving of low-fat or nonfat milk;
- One serving of grain;
- Two servings of fruit and/or vegetables;
- Each serving size is set at three ounces.
No mention is made in the standards as to the quality of the food. The government standards treat all food as being of equal quality, and demand the same lunch for every child. The truth is that every kind of food varies greatly in quality, from heritage organic foods raised on small sustainable farms (the best), to factory foods raised on huge factory farms that are lacking in many vital nutrients, and are full of pesticides and other chemicals, often containing GMOs and soy protein isolate (the worst).
The government programs often mandate that the cheapest source of the required foods be selected, which guarantees that the worst quality food is selected for government-financed food programs. Yet the government insists that each lunch must contain the required servings, and ignores the issue of quality.
Lunch Inspections Lead to Worse Nutrition, Not Better
The incident that sparked so much outrage deserves a close look. A four-year-old preschool student brought a lunch prepared for her by her family. The lunch included a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, a bag of potato chips, and some apple juice. Her lunch was INSPECTED, by some kind of official. This resulted in the child being told that the lunch her family packed was not good enough. She was told to put the home lunch away and to get a cafeteria lunch. The only portion of the cafeteria lunch that the child actually ate was three chicken nuggets. The nuggets, since they had to be the cheapest available, almost certainly were made from slaughterhouse scraps treated with ammonia, the infamous pink slime. Soy protein isolate was almost certainly added to this mix, along with artificial flavor enhancers and who knows what else.
Does anyone seriously contend that this child got a better lunch than the one her family packed for her?
By trying to force the child to eat the one-size-fits-all government lunch, the government deprived her of a good lunch and caused her to have the equivalent of no lunch at all.
In fact, government interference resulted in her having a truly inadequate lunch, rather than the much more nutritious lunch packed for her by her family, consisting of foods that her family knew she would eat.
The incident was later blamed on “teacher error,” by a school district administrator. Yet even this administrator said the child should have been given a container of milk. This must have been the cheapest possible low-fat or non-fat factory milk. What if the child was allergic to milk, as so many children are? What if her parents did not want her to drink that type of milk? What if milk gave her indigestion? What if they wanted her to drink only high-quality organic milk? What if they did not want her to drink milk at all? What if they knew the child would not drink milk, but would eat the cheese they put in her sandwich?
The point is, the government does not know any of these details, and does not appear to care. To them, one-size-fits-all, every child gets a carton of factory milk, whether they or their parents want it, or not. Whether it is good for the child, or not. That is exactly why the government should not be making food choices for children, why parents know best, and why one size fits NOBODY, when it comes to food.
Here is a link to a great post by my friend, Kimberly Hartke: Keep America Safe for Brown Bags!
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