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  • The Facts of Lunch: Federal School Regulations Aren’t The Answer

    There is nothing wrong with fighting childhood obesity but fighting it at the federal level with ineffective methods that could cost each school district over $100,000 in budget increases isn’t going to cut it.

    Every school district is different and it would be more appropriate to make these decisions at the state and local level so that the best options for each individual district can be provided for those particular students.

    Regulators at the U.S. Department of Agriculture mistakenly assume their preliminary new federal rules to make school lunch healthier will naturally result in healthier kids. For many schools, the less tasty meals will be wasted, leaving oversized garbage cans full of costly fruits, veggies and hyper healthy portions the schools paid a pretty penny for.

    And by schools, I mean the state taxpayers who have no say in what kind of regulations populate their local school districts. The total cost for the new rules is estimated to reach $6.8 billion, according to the Department of Agriculture.

    Not only will the schools be adding more fruits and veggies, they will be adding more expensive products to ensure freshness – an unnecessary extravagance for most districts within this already expensive upgrade.

    And the latest proposal? Removing white potatoes – meaning school lunches would absent tater tots and French fries – beloved staples of the school lunch tray for generations. Schools in Texas are even dishing out $2 million to install cameras that will monitor the calorie intake of students. The lunch trays will include bar codes for researching purposes. What a waste of taxpayer dollars.

    The House subcommittee on Early Childhood Elementary and Secondary Education held a hearing Friday on the USDA’s preliminary regulations, which are an extension of President Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, signed last year.

    The truth is that limiting the amount of nutrient-empty food available to students is a no-cost way to help fight childhood obesity. In a testimony on federal food programs, Heritage’s Robert Rector said:

    Changing the composition of foods offered by schools may have positive results on children’s weight and would not impose added costs on the taxpayer.

    A great many schools are already adopting this sort of policy. What is needed here is flexibility and experimentation. There is, no need for mandatory national standards, nor for the U.S Congress to assume the role of national “cookie czar,” dictating food policies for local schools. Such a usurpation of power would be unwise and unwarranted.

    Instead of the federal government attempting mandate standards for every faceless school district in the country, they should look to state and local education leaders for direction on what policies work in different areas. A school district in southern Texas is not going to need the same things as one in inner city New York. Why doesn’t the federal government make that connection?

    America is fighting record debt right now – cutting costs at every available corner. Implementing this kind of unnecessary federal regulation while we are attempting to reconcile our economy is an irresponsible move at the wrong time.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to The Facts of Lunch: Federal School Regulations Aren’t The Answer

    1. james, VA says:

      Elementary and secondary education has become a political hot potato, on its way to becoming the third rail of politics.

    2. Shane Vander Hart, P says:

      Good post Ericka.

    3. RayD says:

      "WAKE UP America” – We don’t have to live like this anymore. "Spread the News"

      JOIN THE REVOLUTION

      Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( http://www.revolution2.osixs.org )

      —-

      FIGHT THE CAUSE – NOT THE SYMPTOM

    4. Sampson, Jacksonvill says:

      As a middle school teacher, I can testify that this nonsense will not help child obesity one bit. Kids don't eat what they don't like. They return to the classroom and break out the potato chips, Doritos, candy, cookies, etc. etc. that they carry around in their backpacks. It's not the school lunches that make them fat. It's all the snacking that goes on all day long.

    5. Gail Hitson, United says:

      Social Security is not now, nor has it ever been an entitlement program. Social Security is and was a Mandatory Insurance Program run by the government, a program that some Americans have paid into for 20 – 50 years. The program had funds removed several times over the years when there was a surplus, first the interest, then the actual funds. Approximately 40% of the US's Annual Budget Revenues come from Social Security payments. Calling Social Security an entitlement program is inapprpriate, it is an insurance program, and if the government feels the need to make adjustments again to the program, then I suggest first putting back money taken out during the past. Second, let yourng people opt out, they can see that government promises do not mean anything. Third, if the you want to "cut back" on SS insurance payments, then end the program completely and make lump sum paymanets to those whose money the government took for all these decades, with interest, back to the taxpayers whose money it belongs to. Then they can invest the money elsewhere. Otherwise, it is pure theft. That is not the government's money to do with as they please, it is money paid into a Mandatory Insurance Program run by our government, not to pay back the money taken is theft. Return the money in lump sun payments with interest, adjusting for inflation, and then close the program. Otherwise you will be stealing billions of dollars paid by average citizens over their entire lives with the promise that it would be there when they needed it, in the form of retirement, disability, and health insurance. Cut programs that do not produce revenue. Though cutting one program will not "fix" the "so-called" problems, cutting several that do not produce anything, but instead simply drain the budget would go a long way toward curing budget problems, that didn't exist in the 90's. If I remember correctly, we had a surplus in the budget and did it without hurting or stealing from citizens who are the elderly, disabiled, old….. citizens who deserve our support and backing.

    6. walter mattson Roths says:

      How are children going to learn to eat different foods if they are given too many options. I am 71 years old and I remember getting school lunches in grades 3 through 9. We did not have a cafeteria in high school. In grades 3 through 9, we had only a selected menu for that day. If you did not eat it, you brought your own lunch or went without. I got to the point that I liked macaroni and cheese. We should return to those days with the exception of including some foods for the few food intolerant students. Also, the Federal government needs to stay out of the decision making process. Third, my grandfather lived on his our farm and consumed potatoes and whatever meat was available and lived to the age of 90. So do not say that potatoes are detrimental to ones health. Eggs were also listed as undesirable but I do not here that any more. Last, schools should require students to an exercise program that promotes better physical condition and should also help those with hyper problems.

    7. Dee Va. says:

      I DONT KNOW ABOUT ANYONE ELSE BUT i AM TIRED OF BEING DICTATED TO BY OBAMA AND HIS SO CALLED WIFE IN THE WHITE HOUSE…..THEY START OUT WITH TELLING YOU WHAT LIGHT BULBS TO USE AS TO WHAT YOU EAT WHAT KIND OF CAR YOU DRIVE …MOST OF ALL HOW TO RAISE YOUR KIDS NOW DONT YOU THINK WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THE DICTATORS IT IS TIME TO STAND UP AND SAY GOD IS MY LEADER AND HE IS THE ONE I LISTEN TO NOT SOME ILLEGAL MUSLIM WHO WANTS TO TAKE OVER OUR COUNTRY………………..WAKE UP AMERICA

    8. Dee Va. says:

      It is time for us to stand up and tell that ILLEGAL MUSLIM IN THE WHITE HOUSE we are not listening to him DICTATE to us anymore……

    9. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      "Implementing this kind of unnecessary federal regulation while we are attempting to reconcile our economy is an irresponsible move at the wrong time."

      Let me add that implementing these regulations at any time is irresponsible…and unconstitutional. Uncle Sam has no business or authority meddling in education much less what is eaten by those who are educated. Kids don't always eat even the so-called junk food that the busy-body regulators want to purge from the school cafeterias. Why add the cost of fresher food?

      Lastly, whatever happened to parents or guardians seeing that their children were properly nourished both in mind and in body? Is that too radical?

    10. Slick in Nebraska says:

      This whole regulation for the school lunch program is nothing but another diversion so the House, the Senate and the President do not have to get down to the real business of CUTTING SPENDING!!!!! For a considerable amount of time I got the daily email of the calendar for the House of Representatives. I finally unsubscribed because I was sadly aware that almost NOTHING that they do on a daily basis has anything to do with fixing what is wrong in our country. They spend a lot of time re-naming post offices, celebrating the 10th anniversary of some obscure event, and sending congrats to an otherwise unknown person.

      The most recent assault on the school lunch program is yet another example of why the government should be trusted with very little . . . . they CANNOT make a rational decision without spending billions of tax dollars, and they have no conscience when it comes to reckless spending! AND the very last thing they should be concentrating on right now is what my grandkids are eating for lunch! Kids today eat pretty much the same kinds of things that my children ate when they were growing up. So one has to wonder why we have such a weight problem today. Could it have anything to do with all the additives that the FDA as approved to be added to our food? Maybe it isn't the food itself but all junk that has been added: sprays to make your salad last longer, coverings added to vegetables to keep them fresher longer, preservatives added to cereals to make them last longer . . . . . what is IN all those additives that is making our population in this country obese???

      I, for one, wish we could return to the days of when we had a part-time congress, and the rest of the time our elected officials were at home in their districts and eating dinner with their families. In fact, I think we should do away with all Washington offices thereby eliminating a terrific amount of money spent on office space, office supplies and office staff. Our Senators and Congressmen could use their computers and use "gotomeeting.com" when they need to talk to their fellow members. Additionally, just think of what a massive difference that would make in the "lobbyist business!" If our elected officials had to look us in the eye on a daily basis, they would be much slower to spend our money and more accountable over all!

      Here is the bottom line: You want to solve this "food problem" in our schools? Do away with the Dept of Education at the Federal level thereby returning the control for schools to the State and local level. Let the local government make the rules for their schools based upon what works in their part of the country.

      And as for the cameras in the Texas schools, when are we going to see the trash cans filled with all that "nutritious food" that is supposed to make our kids more healthy? Who is going to benefit from the massive increase in garbage? The local rats? You have got to be kidding me . . . $2 million of taxpayer money was spent to find out what kids are NOT eating! How about the massive amount of waste created because the First Lady has made herself the chairman of the Food Police!! Easy for her to decide what children should eat . . . . we are paying HER food bill!!!! And just in case you didn't notice, this is HER way of telling parents around this country that they aren't smart enough to adequately feed their children! One has to wonder how this country has survived this long without the likes of her telling us what to eat, what to wear, how to exercise, how to cut our hair . . . I am sick and tired of others telling me what I can or cannot do. I can't even buy products I want to by because "someone else" has decided what is best for me . . . . and before you say it isn't true, what about lightbulbs!!!!

      My daddy used to say, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." And when it comes to regulating the foods that kids are being FORCED

      to eat is certainly proof of that adage! When my kids were little, I was just glad to see their faces at the dinner table and the very last thing I was worried about is whether they were eating enough "rabbit food"!!!

    11. Bill, Kansas City, M says:

      The Feds throw billions of dollars at the educations systems every year, with no results. Test scores continue to fall and kids still drop out. It is time for the Feds and us, the taxpayers, to realize that money does not cure the education system. It is time to give the schools back to the local and state school boards. They know what works best for their particular system and needs, not some bureaucrat thousands of miles away.

    12. Bobbie says:

      Federal school lunch regulations are definitely not the answer! Public government run schools fail educating necessary basic standards! So they take over parental responsibilities/provisions!?

      There is so much a child learns more then spreading bread to freely make a sandwich, freely deciding on what else may be available for his lunch without influence of government but the guidance of his parent(s)/guardian(s).

      Lunch is not the government's (all levels) duty to provide. Parents have to take back their role of responsibilities to their child's health and education and the states have to stand against all federal intrusions.

    13. Diana Brown says:

      Stop with these useless regulations. Get the Federal Government out of Education. Get rid of the Department of Education and let us leave education to the states individually. We need to bring back physical education and gym classes to our schools. Feds leave our children alone. We as parents have the control and we do not need you doing any more damage than you already have. Stop this needless regulation!!!

      Politicians needs to figure out how to stop the spending and enact an ammendment to have a balanced budget!!! Fix our entitlement programs!!! Defund and get rid of Obama Care. This is what needs our attention. Do not let them get away from what really matters.

    14. Deanna says:

      School lunches are not what's causing childhood obesity. I work in a school cafeteria and I see every day what the kids are and are not eating. Parents allowing any and all unhealthy snacks and allowing the kids to sit in front of the tv for hours or playing electronic games instead of pyhsical activities are the cause of childhood obesity.

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