Michelle Obama bans sugary cereal and fried foods from daycare lunches

Michelle Obama has carved out a remarkable extra-constitutional role for herself as America’s food bully, decreeing what can and cannot be served to children in schools and daycare centers that received federal subsidies for food.  So all-encompassing is the federal welfare state that this means most American kids are subject to the first lady’s food whims.

Of course, technically speaking, it is all perfectly legal, resting on a final rule issued Monday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service as authorized by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.  This species of administrative law empowers bureaucrats to create binding law (which the Constitution specifies as Congress’s role), and their responsiveness to Mrs. Obama’s chosen area of interest places her in charge of what goes into the mouths of America’s young.

Elizabeth Harrington of the Washington Free Beacon explains what Michelle is imposing:

The regulation will only allow daycare centers to serve juice once a day, will ban fried foods, and encourages centers to not add honey to a child’s yogurt.

The regulation is a result of the 2010 law aimed at school lunches, a top priority of Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move anti-obesity initiative. The government hopes the new rule will “help children build healthy habits.”

“This final rule updates the meal pattern requirements for the Child and Adult Care Food Program to better align them with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010,” the final rule states. “This rule requires centers and day care homes participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program to serve more whole grains and a greater variety of vegetables and fruit, and reduces the amount of added sugars and solid fats in meals.”

The rules limit the amount of sugar (actually, high-fructose corn syrup, because federal rules make sugar in the United States twice the price of world markets) in cereals, so:

... no Lucky Charms, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Cap’n Crunch, or Frosted Flakes.

Cereals that will meet the new sugar restrictions include Cheerios, Puffed Rice, Fiber One, and All-Bran.

Can anyone imagine serving All-Bran to toddlers?

The rules get pretty detailed.  Pity the poor operator of a home daycare operation who fails to study to Federal Register:

The final regulation does allow meat and “meat alternates,” such as tofu, if they are served “in place of the entire grains requirement at breakfast a maximum of three times per week.”

Also banned are flavored milk for kids aged two to five and fried foods.

“This final rule prohibits frying as a way a preparing food on-site,” according to the document. “Frying is defined as deep-fat frying (i.e. cooking by submerging food in hot oil or other fat). This definition of frying was recommended by commenters and continues to allow providers to sauté, pan-fry, and stir-fry.”

The government explained that fish can be served “ if it is pan-fried or prepared another way, as long as it is not cooked by submerging the bread into hot oil or other fat.”

Centers will be allowed to serve cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt, as long as it has fewer than 23 grams of sugar per 6 ounces. The first version of the regulation would have banned cheese, cottage cheese, and “cheese food, or spread.”

But lest you think Michelle Obama is a grinch:

The government said it will allow daycare centers to break the rules for special occasions like birthdays, but urged centers to “use discretion.”

Our bureaucrats and first lady are kind, indeed.

All of this micro-management is classic Big Brotherism.  Mrs. Obama admits that her favorite food is pizza, but as she struggles with her own body image issues, she bosses around the nation’s children to conform with the latest theories about nutrition and obesity.  A healthy daily diet of humility would inform her, the bureaucrats, and the people who want to boss around others that we have a long history of erroneous food guidelines proclaimed by the feds.  I grew up instructed by the infamous and now repudiated “food pyramid.”  I remember when margarine was pushed on us as healthier than butter.  Another guideline now repudiated, as also is the warning against whole milk and eggs.

Hubris, however, is a concept that is not understood by the food bullies.