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  • Tales of the Red Tape #21: USDA's Affirmative Action for Vegetables

    First they came for the donuts, and few dared to defend partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Then they came for the soft drinks, declaring high-fructose corn syrup verboten. Now they’re after lima beans, peas, and corn, moving us ever closer to a national diet of tofu and kale.

    “They,” in this latest case of dietary despotism, is the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). As required by Congress, the agency recently proposed stricter nutrition standards for school-based breakfast and lunch programs. More than 98,000 elementary and secondary schools will be affected—at a cost exceeding $3.4 billion in the next four years.

    One among the proposed cafeteria mandates will undoubtedly leave many a lunch lady scratching her head (beneath the net, of course): No more than one cup per week of lima beans, peas, corn, or potatoes will be permitted each student.

    Not that there is anything nutritionally unsound about these items, and most moms would be thrilled if their kids consumed more than a cup of peas each week. It’s just that Washington wants our children “to try new vegetables.” (That’s verbatim.) Consequently, schools would be required to provide more dark green, orange, and dry bean varieties in their place.

    Obviously, the FNS is moving far a field of its original mission. When established in 1946, the National School Lunch Program was intended to address nutritional deficiencies in children’s diets. Now they are meddling in menu options in pursuit of palate diversity.

    (The agency is exercising a modicum of flexibility, however. Schools in American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands may serve a starchy vegetable such as yams, plantains, or sweet potatoes to meet the grain/bread requirement.)

    USDA officials acknowledge that the proposed regulations “may pose a particular challenge to implement.” What they don’t seem to grasp is that the feds have no business dictating the vegetable choices of our children in the first place.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Tales of the Red Tape #21: USDA's Affirmative Action for Vegetables

    1. lights on says:

      it's sickening to have the expense of this government patronizing American parents! how unfortunate for this country of government goons who can't mind their own business spending our money on things we already spend our money on! Please correct and remove. Parental responsibility needs to remain with the parents!

    2. Randall says:

      All I can say is give peas a chance.

    3. @carter_katy says:

      this is getting out of control

    4. Prfssrpah says:

      By what right does the FDA have to mandate school lunchrooms. I thought districts and municipalities were in charge here. Local control please (not peas)

    5. Guest says:

      Actually, the root problem is the federal government being involved in feeding anyone's child at school or anywhere else. Isn't that the parents' or guardian's responsibility?

      • Elizabeth says:

        It is the parents' or guardian's responsibility, but a lot of them never take that responsibility. Around 70% of the student's at the school in which I teach only get to eat when they are at school, so what they eat is especially important.

    6. Elizabeth says:

      As a school teacher in North Carolina I am constantly appalled by what passes for a "vegetable" on the school lunch menu. Lima beans and peas being all but striken from the menu doesn't make any sense to me because most of the time those are the "greenest" vegetables I've ever seen being served; however, I can understand and get behind limiting corn and especially potatos because they have such low nutritional value.

    7. Elizabeth says:

      Children at my school constantly walk out of the lunch line with 3-4 servings of fries on their tray. It doesn't make any sense to me that fries are counted as a "vegetable" but amazingly enough they are! On paper that child would be considered to have eaten nothing but vegetables for lunch! Does this make sense? Do we not care about healthy food for our children? More importantly, do we not care about having a proper standard for measuring the nutritional value of what we put into our body and use to function and thrive?

    8. Elizabeth says:

      American children already get a second rate education compared to most other countries, so we might as well continue to let the bulk of their diet at school consist of crappy overly modified starches, carbohydrates, cheese foods, and grade D meat. It's easier and cheaper this way so it must be the best way.

      • Bobbie says:

        In today's world I certainly wouldn't trust government! what they say and what it is are contentious and more burdensome. If parents aren't feeding their children, why not remove the children where they will be fed instead of forcing everyone else the expense of other peoples parental responsibilities?

        • Elizabeth says:

          Certaily in the right circumstances children do need to be removed from negligent homes and situations, but many would not be considered to be in those extreme situations because as long as they get fed something that can be considered food it is not viewed as negligence. I am friends with many social workers who are just as bogged down and overworked as everyone else.The process of removing children from unfit parents is long and complicated. This is not always bad because the social working system needs to be held accountable also, but it is what it is. Removing the responsibility of those parents to take proper care of their children won't solve the problem in itself. This is just not a simple issue of what vegetables to serve at lunch.

    9. A Patriot says:

      I Hear you Randall give peas a chance !

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