What does it say about the state of affairs these days when Congressmen have to introduce legislation designed to stop the federal government from making our kids go hungry? That’s exactly where we are. Reps. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas and Steve King of Iowa have introduced the “No Hungry Kids Act,” because the federal government is dictating what schools can and cannot serve to children in the cafeteria.
Someone emailed some of the documents put out by the federal government outlining the new rules. Talk about hard to follow! School dietitians and the food service directors are having a tough time working within the new guidelines. Good grief, the only way they can serve potatoes with breakfast is to have served two other vegetables first. Here’s the rule on that:
For breakfast, vegetables may be substituted for fruits, but the first two cups per week of any substitution must be from dark green, red/orange, beans & peas, or “other vegetables” subgroups as defined in 210.10(c)(iii).
Who wants to eat peas for breakfast? But the ramifications of the new law signed by President Obama goes beyond the school cafeterias. Here in New York State, purchases of school lunches have dropped considerably, which hurts the bottom line of the producers of food for the cafeterias and their employees.
Huelskamp was on CBS this morning to talk about this problem and the legislation he introduced. (See video below.) In a statement on his website he slammed Michelle Obama and the “Nutrition Nannies” at the USDA.
“The goal of the school lunch program is supposed to be feeding children, not filling the trash cans with uneaten food,” said Congressman Huelskamp. “The USDA’s new school lunch guidelines are a perfect example of what is wrong with government: misguided inputs, tremendous waste, and unaccomplished goals. Thanks to the Nutrition Nannies at the USDA, America’s children are going hungry at school.”
“For the first time in history, the USDA has set a calorie limit on school lunches,” said Congressman King. “The goal of the school lunch program was- and is- to ensure students receive enough nutrition to be healthy and to learn. The misguided nanny state, as advanced by Michelle Obama’s “Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act,” was interpreted by Secretary Vilsack to be a directive that, because some kids are overweight, he would put every child on a diet. Parent’s know that their kids deserve all of the healthy and nutritious food they want.”
Update: Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says that snacks will save the new lunch program, and that parents should pack extra snacks for their kids in the morning. Then he said something that’s at the very heart of this problem:
“Some folks love it, some folks have had questions about it, but that’s to be expected when you’re dealing with 32 million children and you’re dealing with over a hundred thousand school districts.”
That’s exactly why the federal government shouldn’t be involved in any of this.