Attack of the lunch police
The Department of Health and Human Services, which thanks to ObamaCare will soon be the most powerful and unaccountable government organization in the Western world, has really been feeling its oats lately. Fresh from its triumph in forcing Catholics to pay for contraception, agents of the Division of Child Development and Early Education moved to seize an improperly packed lunch from a little girl at a North Carolina elementary school, and assess a modest fine against her mother.
The Carolina Journal reports on this thrill-packed adventure of the Food Police:
A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because a state employee told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.
The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the agent who was inspecting all lunch boxes in her More at Four classroom that day.
What regulations empowered the Food Police to swoop in and make the bust, wrestling that deadly turkey-and-cheese sandwich away from the young citizen, and saving her from dietary child abuse with a timely infusion of State-approved chicken nuggets?
The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs – including in-home day care centers – to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.
When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement them with the missing ones.
I can hardly wait for the first Food Police no-knock raid of a home day care center. I bet there’s a lot of sliced turkey in those dens of iniquity.
The girl’s mother – who said she wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter from retaliation – said she received a note from the school stating that students who did not bring a “healthy lunch” would be offered the missing portions, which could result in a fee from the cafeteria, in her case $1.25.
“I don’t feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home,” the mother wrote in a complaint to her state representative, Republican G.L. Pridgen of Robeson County.
The girl’s grandmother, who sometimes helps pack her lunch, told Carolina Journal that she is a petite, picky 4-year-old who eats white whole wheat bread and is not big on vegetables.
“What got me so mad is, number one, don’t tell my kid I’m not packing her lunch box properly,” the girl’s mother told CJ. “I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn’t really care for vegetables.”
Look, citizen, you’re going to have to understand that we are all property of the State now. Your parental authority, and the personal preferences of your daughter, are irrelevant when measured against the State’s fiduciary interest in your health. A highly qualified commissar of the Food Police explained the error of this misguided parental unit’s ways:
While the mother and grandmother thought the potato chips and lack of vegetable were what disqualified the lunch, a spokeswoman for the Division of Child Development said that should not have been a problem.
“With a turkey sandwich, that covers your protein, your grain, and if it had cheese on it, that’s the dairy,” said Jani Kozlowski, the fiscal and statutory policy manager for the division. “It sounds like the lunch itself would’ve met all of the standard.” The lunch has to include a fruit or vegetable, but not both, she said.
There are no clear restrictions about what additional items – like potato chips – can be included in preschoolers’ lunch boxes.
“If a parent sends their child with a Coke and a Twinkie, the child care provider is going to need to provide a balanced lunch for the child,” Kozlowski said.
Ultimately, the child care provider can’t take the Coke and Twinkie away from the child, but Kozlowski said she “would think the Pre-K provider would talk with the parent about that not being a healthy choice for their child.”
(Emphasis mine.) “No clear restrictions?” Fear not, citizens. Clarity will be provided at the pleasure of the Department of Health and Human Services.
This principle will not be confined to children in schools. As we saw from the condom controversy, and King Obama’s “accommodation” – which involved ordering private insurance companies to provide contraceptives for “free” – the State now has limitless power to regulate the behavior of the citizenry, to control health care costs. The people will be compelled to provide each other anything the State deems good and proper.
This is really a modest expansion upon the principle of the “individual mandate” at the heart of ObamaCare, which compels private citizens to purchase a State-approved product from private companies. If the State can force you to buy health insurance, then of course they can force you to buy chicken nuggets. Or vegetables, gym memberships… anything that is deemed in the “public good,” which now includes anything related to the health of the population. You’ll be amazed how much is “related to the health of the population” a few years from now.
Hopefully the little girl rescued from her maternal unit’s foolish ignorance by the valiant Food Police won’t suffer any lingering psychological trauma, such as the conviction that turkey is poisonous, or her mother can’t be trusted to take care of her. Surely taxpayer-funded psychological counseling will be made available if necessary.
Meanwhile… have you seen the garbage adults are eating for lunch? Have you seen the way fast-food restaurants tempt children with those hellish Happy Meals? There is much work ahead for the Food Police.