Who should choose a kid's lunch - parents or government?

Ethel C. Fenig
It has come to this; the need for a law to guarantee one of the fundamental rights of parenthood.

A few months ago a four year old had her pre school lunch confiscated by the biggest, strongest bully of them all--the government. This happened when a North Carolina state official decreed a home packed lunch consisting of a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, apple juice and potato chips was unhealthy because it lacked a vegetable. And so the state official ordered an ostensibly healthier lunch for her--chicken nuggets, milk, fruit and that all important vegetable. However he graciously allowed her to keep her home made lunch and even more graciously didn't force the little one to actually eat the official healthy lunch--vegetable and all. But the intimidated tyke ate the nuggets--greasy school nuggets!--although the sandwich was healthier.

Actually the state official was only doing his job--state and federal guidelines dictate "the nutrition standards for pre-K lunch require milk, two servings of fruit or vegetable, bread or grains and a meat or meat alternative."

Bravely overriding the feds, in this case the US Department of Agriculture, 

North Carolina's House Education and Higher Education Committee proposed the amended "chicken nugget" bill Tuesday. The bill will allow parents to pack lunches for their pre-K children that may not adhere to USDA guidelines.

"The contents of children's lunch boxes should be decided by their parents and guardians, not by government bureaucrats," Republican state Sen. Phil Berger said in a written statement. "While nutrition is very important, we need to make sure our child care providers focus on preparing children for school rather than on inspecting lunches."

The bill also prohibits state agencies from inspecting homemade lunches, thereby preventing the state from penalizing child care facilities for parents' choices.

A small victory but sad it was necessary.

But if that little girl and her parents decide to tour New York City they'll have to order Little Gulps instead of a big one. The government says so.



It has come to this; the need for a law to guarantee one of the fundamental rights of parenthood.

A few months ago a four year old had her pre school lunch confiscated by the biggest, strongest bully of them all--the government. This happened when a North Carolina state official decreed a home packed lunch consisting of a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, apple juice and potato chips was unhealthy because it lacked a vegetable. And so the state official ordered an ostensibly healthier lunch for her--chicken nuggets, milk, fruit and that all important vegetable. However he graciously allowed her to keep her home made lunch and even more graciously didn't force the little one to actually eat the official healthy lunch--vegetable and all. But the intimidated tyke ate the nuggets--greasy school nuggets!--although the sandwich was healthier.

Actually the state official was only doing his job--state and federal guidelines dictate "the nutrition standards for pre-K lunch require milk, two servings of fruit or vegetable, bread or grains and a meat or meat alternative."

Bravely overriding the feds, in this case the US Department of Agriculture, 

North Carolina's House Education and Higher Education Committee proposed the amended "chicken nugget" bill Tuesday. The bill will allow parents to pack lunches for their pre-K children that may not adhere to USDA guidelines.

"The contents of children's lunch boxes should be decided by their parents and guardians, not by government bureaucrats," Republican state Sen. Phil Berger said in a written statement. "While nutrition is very important, we need to make sure our child care providers focus on preparing children for school rather than on inspecting lunches."

The bill also prohibits state agencies from inspecting homemade lunches, thereby preventing the state from penalizing child care facilities for parents' choices.

A small victory but sad it was necessary.

But if that little girl and her parents decide to tour New York City they'll have to order Little Gulps instead of a big one. The government says so.