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President's Ponderings: Big Gov't Deciding What’s For Lunch

By Edward Luttrell - President's Ponderings Blog (5/20/11)

  MAY 22, 2011 --

I read an article on the new U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations on school lunches and breakfasts. USDA seems to be seeking final authority on what our children eat, or more accurately, what is put in front of them to eat. 

USDA claims to want to match rules to the dietary guidelines that are recommended by the National Academies Institute of Medicine. I do support eating healthy, but I never liked being told what to eat. On top of my natural stubborn streak, I wonder if you double the servings of carrots does that translate to kids eating those servings. 

I’ve seen a lot of kids eat only the things that they liked and throw away the rest. If we add more things that a lot of kids don’t eat, are we making things better or is it just waste mandated by the government? 

Likely one result of these rules is that schools will receive a few extra pennies for each meal while spending dramatically more on fresh foods instead of canned or frozen foods or substituting high cost food for lower costing food. 

While I wish everyone would eat healthier, I don’t believe it is my duty or that it is our government’s obligation to make sure that we take care of ourselves. Plus where is the parental responsibility or why, if this is such a critical issue, isn’t the local school board making this decision. 

It seems to me that these USDA regulations are just one more case of unfunded mandates from the federal government. When you look at the financial condition of the federal and state governments, it doesn’t make sense. Plus it is one more responsibility taken from parents and local school boards and given to government bureaucrats who don’t live in our community. I think I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple for lunch, wonder how that would fit in their regulations?

-Ed Luttrell
National Grange President

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