Wednesday, February 15

Government Approved...

I'm a little late climbing up on my soapbox on this one, but still color me irate. It seems that our Federal government is now under the impression that it is in the business of telling parents what food items they can and cannot pack in the children's lunches. (Why am I not amazed?)

Case in point... A preschooler attending the West Hoke elementary School in Reford, North Carolina was told on January 30th that the lunch her mother had provided for her to consume on that day did not meet the minimum nutritional standards as prescribed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. What terribly unhealthy food items did this mother callously provide for her child? (You may wish to fetch a barf bag before reading further...) A turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, potato chips and a carton of apple juice. I know, it turns a lot of folks stomachs who entertain a visual image of this assortment of foul food items all combined together. What was this idiotic mother thinking?

Thank goodness to the rescue came the zealous representative of the Division of Child Development and Early Education of the Department of Health and Human Services who took it upon herself/himself to personally inspect each of the preschoolers lunches to assure each met the USDA guidelines. According to this watchdog agency each lunch must (emphasises mine) consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, "even if the lunch was prepared and transported by the child from home." There shall be no exceptions. Failure to comply with these guidelines, the child care provider must (your government's emphasises, not mine) supplement the improperly prepared lunch with the missing item(s.) And to add further injury to idiotic insult, the child care provider may levy a fee to the parent to offset the cost of the supplemented food item.

Upon arriving home, the child's mother realized that the meal she had packed for the child's lunch was untouched, which prompted an inquiry as to what she had eaten instead. Three chicken nuggets. The balance of the food on the cafeteria tray was untouched and disposed of as waste. Another fine example of yours and my tax dollars being effectively put to work. Aren't you proud?

Also arriving at the mother's attention was a note form the school stating that that students who did not bring a "healthy lunch" would be offered the missing portions that could result in a fee from the cafeteria, which, in the mother's particular care, would be $1.25. The mother, who wished to remain anonymous (are you ready for this?) to protect her daughter from retaliation, complained to her congressional representative rightfully protesting the imposing of a fine of any amount when she had utilized her own monetary resources to provide an acceptable meal that she knew her daughter would consume and enjoy. Silly, misguided woman. Don't you know that the government considers we citizens to possess no more mental acumen than might otherwise be required for each of us to have enough common sense to come in out of the rain?

Here's my take on yet another example of our Federal 's deliberate and increasing interference in the affairs of it citizens. The last thing I would have done would have been to remain anonymous. My voice would have given new meaning to the phrase"Holy Hell," so pronounced would my protest have been that the person responsible for inserting their unwelcomed and unwarranted greasy chicken nugget fingers into my child's personal belongings that their ears would have been ringing like the inside of the Liberty Bell at Independence Hall. "Dear kind sir or gentle lady, if you ever again feel in the slightest compelled to again place your hands on my child's lunch without my expressed written permission, let me assure you that you shall find it painfully difficult to consume your healthy food choices for the next calendar year with only the use of your elbows!"

It marginally commendable that our government has propagated a desire to combat the growing epidemic of obesity that is increasingly plaguing a rapidly growing segment of our citizens, especially among our children. It is at base a worthy cause that deserves our attention and action. But like so many programs undertaken by our unwieldy Federal government, it is itself plagued with self-important, zealous bureaucrats who find it necessary to impose their mandates of regulation where none are necessary or required. Our teachers have enough on their professional plates, attempting to impart the rudimentary educational skills our children must master in order to take their future productive place in our society, to also be burdened with the wholly unnecessary responsibility of being the policemen for government mandates that are intrusive and over-reaching in their scope.

Yes, by all means be a cheerleader for responsible choices, but let the teachers be teachers and let the parents be parents. A lunch consisting of a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, potato chips and a carton of apple juice isn't going to bring America to its knees. We have far bigger problems than what a child brings from home to eat for lunch.