A story that's hard to swallow

Nutrition enforcement missing daily recommended allowance of common sense

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You might have heard breathless media reports that ran something like this: A 4-year-old girl in Raeford, N.C., took a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, apple juice and potato chips to school for lunch Jan. 30. But out of the blue, a state government agent inspecting lunches that day said the girl’s food wasn’t up to government nutrition standards, and forced the girl instead to eat chicken nuggets dispensed by the cafeteria.

It’s outrageous! It’s government gone amok!

And it didn’t happen like that.

What happened, according to WRAL-TV, was this: “Confusion over a state assessment of a government-funded pre-kindergarten program caused the child to believe she had to go through the cafeteria line and get the chicken nuggets lunch provided by the school, said Bob Barnes, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in Hoke County.”

Apparently under the assessment program, if a homemade lunch is found to be missing a food group required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the school should offer the missing nutrition to the pupil for free.

Barnes said the state agent should have suggested the child get a carton of milk. Instead, the confused little girl went through the full lunch line.

So, by the time the child’s grandmother heard the 4-year-old’s interpretation of these events, she was livid.

And why wouldn’t she be? Who wants some food police goon rifling through a kid’s Spider-Man lunchbox to make sure Johnny’s got enough vitamins and minerals?

It’s not supposed to happen like that, of course. But it appears that the little girl in North Carolina encountered an overzealous, possibly undertrained foodie version of Deputy Barney Fife.

Schools have a certain obligation to watch over children. We get that. Still, you have to admit there’s something Orwellian about a “state agent” strolling from table to table inspecting pupils’ lunches.

When kids come to school over and over with suspicious bruises? When they consistently arrive to class dressed in rags? When they keep bringing lunches consisting of a root beer and a handful of lard? Sure, then it can become the school’s business. We would encourage officials to help elevate that child’s well-being if obvious warning signs re-occur. And for goodness’ sake, involve the parents every step of the way.

But when a preschooler unpacks a fairly healthy lunch? Just let the kid eat.

Last month, for the first time in 15 years, the feds issued new school lunch guidelines – more whole grains and produce, and less sodium and fat. We have no problem with that.

Kids might, though.

We had the pleasure of dining not once but twice this past fall with bright pupils at a Columbia County elementary school. We can report that the school’s hard-working lunchroom staff dutifully delivered nutrition.

One of our lunchmates was a charming second-grade girl who ate a cafeteria corn dog – but only the breading, not the hot dog inside. One of her classmates also ate a corn dog – but only the hot dog, not the breading. Other kids picked at their food to varying degrees, and too many meals, reasonably balanced but barely touched, simply got tossed into the trash.

In school cafeterias, away from their parents’ watchful eyes, kids are going to eat what they want. That makes it the parents’ job to help their kids want something healthy.

And it wouldn’t hurt for North Carolina’s lunch inspectors to cultivate a less confusing, more kid-friendly tableside manner.

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Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 02/18/12 - 04:10 am
0
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Only two lunch outings in a

Only two lunch outings in a CCSS school during the Fall past? We can do better than that, can't we?

agustinian
683
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agustinian 02/18/12 - 06:24 am
0
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Just curious, who inspected

Just curious, who inspected the government busybody's lunch? Oh yeah that's right the inspector's union wouldn't allow that. Next time you're at school stand by the tray return area and look at how much of that "great" food is thrown out.

Riverman1
82254
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Riverman1 02/18/12 - 06:46 am
0
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I couldn't get past the lard

I couldn't get past the lard and rootbeer lunch in the Spiderman lunchbox. But if I saw a kid with a lunch like that, I'd first watch to see how he ate it. That would be something. Later in his class every time Little Johnny touched the book pages they would get transparent fingerprints.

Riverman1
82254
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Riverman1 02/18/12 - 07:06 am
0
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When I was in the second

When I was in the second grade we had this girl named Mary Jo who brought in these fantastic lunches. Sandwiches all wrapped in waxpaper. Remember waxpaper? They said it caused cancer or something.

But back to Mary Jo, she had these BAD in a good way lunches that made us all just drool as we ate our spinach, Jello with fruit in it and two fish sticks with milk. We all knew you weren't supposed to drink milk with fish, but even Mrs Jervy sitting with us did it.

Mary Jo had lunches that must have set her mother back a day of my mother's wages working in the shirt factory. She had sandwiches, Little Debbies and FOR GOODNESS SAKES A BAG OF POTATO CHIPS. She gave me a chip once that I remember to this day. It kind of lingered in my mouth for a long time. I didn't want to swallow it.

But I had to because I had more spinach left. That's where I learned to use salt. The spinach was so bad I had to cover it with so much salt to kill the taste it looked white.

Mary Jo also had legs that bent back in the lower legs a lot. Kind of bowed backwards below the knees. I used to try to get mine to bend like hers.

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 02/18/12 - 08:06 am
0
0
EVERY person residing within

EVERY person residing within the U.S. borders needs a schedule to live by(requied by the feds) it should contain a minute by minute account of one's daily activities and a required meal content. First violation would result in rationing and the second violation would result in deportation.

Riverman1
82254
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Riverman1 02/18/12 - 08:12 am
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Copperhead, along with

Copperhead, along with economic fairness we need equality in availability of food. There's no reason some should have ribeye steak on their plates when Warren Buffet's secretary is eating P and J sandwiches.

seenitB4
85392
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seenitB4 02/18/12 - 08:20 am
0
0
The government is in our

The government is in our bedrooms & now our kids lunchbox...pleeeeze let's try to get some sense back in DC one more time B4 I pass on into lala land......sometimes you think you're dreaming when you read the news......if my grandparents could come back & read the news it would take us weeks to get them out of shock!

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 02/18/12 - 08:34 am
0
0
Economoc fairness?!, does

Economoc fairness?!, does that mean that a laborer should make the same wage as a a journeyman? Or does it mean the jouneyman should make the same as the laborer?

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 02/18/12 - 08:59 am
0
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Riverman 1, you need to

Riverman 1, you need to define "economic fairness". Who will decide what is fair? Is it "fair" that 47% of workers pay NO taxes? Wouldn't it be "fair" if they paid SOME taxes? What is more "fair",making the rich pay more OR making the 47% pay SOME? Which would bring in more for the government to waste?

RunningMan
346
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RunningMan 02/18/12 - 10:16 am
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There are time when I think

There are time when I think the AC and some of the regular posters on here are in the same house. How else can you account for the fact that their comments seems so narrow minded regarding the issues facing this country.

foster
65
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foster 02/18/12 - 10:39 am
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RunningMan. You're a typical

RunningMan. You're a typical morally superior liberal. You don't want to post your views because you know the people of Augusta oppose them so you resort to calling names. Just state your beliefs, don't question other peoples motives and let's get the discussion going. You're entitled to your beliefs, even if they are wrong and I'm entitled to mine.

shrimp for breakfast
5422
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shrimp for breakfast 02/18/12 - 11:12 am
0
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Root Beer and LARD!!!

Root Beer and LARD!!! LOL!
I'm still laughing!

allhans
23536
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allhans 02/18/12 - 11:20 am
0
0
"Give them an inch and

"Give them an inch and they will take a mile". Watch out. Far, far worse to come.
Please! Make your vote count in November.

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 02/18/12 - 11:42 am
0
0
I think this food Nazi piece

I think this food Nazi piece started in the Carolina Journal Online then made its way through the rightwing echo chamber. It’s another conservative “poodle in the microwave” story; soon there is no poodle, then no microwave, then it was all a misunderstanding. By then the lie has traveled around the world twice while the truth is snowed in at O’Hare.

Conservatives eat this stuff up with nary a retraction or clarification in sight. I read one blog where the writer identified the food inspector as Federal in his zeal to create an image of Obamacron Food Enforcement Androids; his blog was echoed through the fringe chamber. In an update he corrected his mistake and clarified the wayward inspector was a North Carolina state employee but (surprise, surprise, surprise) this correction did not propagate through the lamebrain-o-sphere.

There’s a phrase for this form of media confirmation bias: Too good to check.

burninater
9396
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burninater 02/18/12 - 12:39 pm
0
0
What was that bj? I was a

What was that bj? I was a little busy reading this blogpost about Obama cooking the blood of Christian children into his Passover matzoh.

Riverman1
82254
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Riverman1 02/18/12 - 12:43 pm
0
0
Burn, I don't believe I'd

Burn, I don't believe I'd have said that. But what do I know?

RunningMan
346
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RunningMan 02/18/12 - 12:58 pm
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Foster, You are right,

Foster, You are right, believe whatever you want, however, many of us realize the AC is simply promoting their own agenda by dramatizing the issues. It is simply not working. The common sense approach is to promote healthty habits whenever possible. Bad eating habits as a kid with simply lead to bad eating habits as an adult and possible health issues. Common Sense Right?

harley_52
22989
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harley_52 02/18/12 - 01:10 pm
0
0
I find it mildly amusing that

I find it mildly amusing that some of the very same folks who celebrate the government dictating when to smoke, where to smoke, and the smoking rules in a restaurant you own, somehow now have a problem with the government deciding what your child should eat.

Seems like they should pick a lane here......or at least decide which aspects of their lives or property rights they're willing to cede to the government.

harley_52
22989
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harley_52 02/18/12 - 01:42 pm
0
0
So.....who was it that "made

So.....who was it that "made up" this story?

harley_52
22989
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harley_52 02/18/12 - 01:47 pm
0
0
Riverman1 said "It kind of

Riverman1 said "It kind of lingered in my mouth for a long time. I didn't want to swallow it. "

.....nevermind.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
7387
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 02/18/12 - 01:52 pm
0
0
It was made up by the Bubba

It was made up by the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company when Lt. Dan heard about it and came up with a new marketing scheme!!

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 02/18/12 - 03:33 pm
0
0
harley, thanks for not

harley, thanks for not bringing up the rest of his comment:) River can be so bad at times, but when he is good, he is excellent. I get to practice my unconditional love on him:)

harley_52
22989
Points
harley_52 02/18/12 - 03:47 pm
0
0
Willow, watch over him

Willow, watch over him carefully. Lord knows leaving a trail of quotes like that around could lead to some serious misambiguations (i hope EEL will excuse that word). :)

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 02/18/12 - 11:33 pm
0
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This little girls lunch was
Unpublished

This little girls lunch was exactly, a different fruit though, what my kid got for a sack lunch from the school a few months ago. I guess according to the feds I need to contact a lawyer and sue!!!!!!!

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 02/18/12 - 11:36 pm
0
0
I know if any of these people
Unpublished

I know if any of these people approach my kid and make them confused and feel uncomfortable over something so stupid like this... they will be sued!!!! How dare they!

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 02/18/12 - 11:38 pm
0
0
Harley @12:10... I agree. We
Unpublished

Harley @12:10... I agree. We call those people hypocrites, and there are tons of them here.

Riverman1
82254
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Riverman1 02/19/12 - 09:18 am
0
0
Willow and Harley,

Willow and Harley, unconditional love back at both of ya. Y'all need it with those kinds of minds. :)

foster
65
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foster 02/19/12 - 11:05 am
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Running Man this is about

Running Man this is about liberty and the right of parents to decide on their own without government telling them what and how much to put into their children's lunch box. Be very afraid of a government that can reach into the home and dictate what it wants you to do with your children. If they can tell you what to feed them, eventually they will tell you what to teach them in your home. I stand for liberty every time. Keep your nose out of my personal decisions in my home.

harley_52
22989
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harley_52 02/19/12 - 12:10 pm
0
0
Riverman1...sorry,

Riverman1...sorry, pal....I'll take a pass. :)

seenitB4
85392
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seenitB4 02/19/12 - 12:25 pm
0
0
harley...ya good..heh

harley...ya good..heh

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