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February 16, 2012

Get your hands off my bagged lunch

You know all that rantin' and raving I've been doing lately about the food police, and raw milk and how your government shouldn't tell you what you can and can't eat?  Chances are you're sitting there thinking, "Who cares? That doesn't apply to me, I don't have a cow.  What do I care about raw milk.. that OFG... always the alarmist."

Got a kid?

Got a kid in public school?

Firmly under the heading of "Reasons why home schooling may not be such a bad idea" - have you seen this story?  Mom sends her preschool kid with a sack lunch and the lunch inspector decides her turkey sandwich and stuff wasn't good enough - so they take it away and makes the kid eat chicken nuts?

What about that story horrifies you the most - that there is a "lunch inspector," that they took away the food the mom sent, or that the better option was chicken parts mashed together, reglued into an unidentifiable chicken part, breaded, deep fried....then reheated?

I have to say the more I thought about this the madder I got. I don't have kids but I tell you the truth. If a "lunch inspector" took away what I sent for my kid to eat and gave them the crap that parades as school food?  Oh, Friend.... that would be bad. I would go up there. Not, you know, to have a sit down meeting with the principal - I mean to tell you I'd Go Up There.  And it would not be pretty.

So that we are clear, I don't even let anyone feed my dogs. I would not allow the transfer of my responsibility to feed my kid - by action or inaction - to the school or any body else. Ever.

Honestly,  I thought this story was a joke or a hoax. But if you click on the links - including this one - you'll see that that state requires child care facilities to make the better decision for the parents. I'll just quote it for you but you should read the whole thing.

CHILD CARE RULE .0901 Food From Home When children bring their own food for meals or snacks to the center, if the food does not meet the nutritional requirements outlined in the Meal Patterns for Children in Child Care, the center must provide additional food necessary to meet those requirements.

It might sound well meaning and innocuous and I could possibly imagine the lunch lady saying, "Hey kid would you like some carrots?"  But take away the parent-provided lunch?  Maybe if the parents sent a bag of chocolate chips, corn nuts, and a beer for the kid to eat, sure I could see that someone would give the kid a better meal. But the mom sent a turkey sandwich, a banana, potato chips, and juice.

Even I can't find anything wrong with that and you know how I am. Chances are if you are sitting at a desk and reading this at work, you' probably having a turkey sandwich and chips. Better look around, friend, that lunch inspector could be headed your way.

Is child obesity a problem? Yes. But there is a world of difference between telling parents "you should" and "you must." You should send your kid with a healthy lunch....but for the state to define what that should be? And then to inspect it and take that lunch away? Are you kidding me? Lets not even get into what your kid prefers to eat, or maybe they just didn't want carrots that day, or maybe you didn't put the carrots in the sack....just throw all that aside.  Let's call this what it is - a state defined diet. Just let that sink in for a while. 
You should be mortified.

The grandma is quoted somewhere as saying, "This isn't China, is it?"  I think we should all stop and think for a minute about past governments who took over "parenting" their nation's children. Even if the "lunch inspector" did not say directly to the kid, "Your mommy isn't doing it right, but I'm here to help you."  The intent was pretty clear.

I don't know what your school districts are like, but the school lunches and food allowed on the schools around here are a joke. A healthy snack for the grade school kids is defined as chocolate milk and a bag of Doritos. I'm not even kidding. We were witnesses to this and could not believe it. And to make sure the kids don't get too much sugar, instead of removing the soda vending machines from the school - they replaced all the regular sodas with diet and energy drinks. I hope that you are shrieking with rage at reading this.

Apparently the school in this story apologized. But are you as parents satisfied with that? How about, "The school apologized, fired the lunch inspector, and spent the money improving its lunch offerings to the children by hiring an actual chef who cooks the food on site from real ingredients. Further, they used the money to better educate parents on what good nutrition is - instead of taking away a kids lunch."

Where I came from, the only one who stole your lunch was the class idiot.  And chances are the other kids were giving him a redneck style beat down because they wouldn't tolerate that kind of thing. Especially since everyone knew your mom packed the best lunches.

Parents, I can't speak for you but I hope you are outraged at this. Raw milk may not affect you but when your government takes away your kid's lunch and substitutes their judgment for yours?  There is a lot of mocking about a "slippery slope" but you can't pretend that the next step isn't that "they" are gonna show up and take your dinner off of your table.

If I were you, Parents, I'd grab my sack and tell the government to keep their hands off my kid's lunch.