DECEMBER 14, 2010
The far-reaching tentacles of the bloated U.S. government will control a cherished public school fundraiser—the bake sale—under Michelle Obama’s precious new law to combat childhood obesity.
Signed this week by her husband, the $4.5 billion measure (The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act) is expected to revolutionize the inner-city diet by providing fresh produce and grilled lean meats as alternatives to greasy, fried foods that tend to be more popular in so-called “food deserts.” These are areas—all low-income—determined by the government to be deficient in affordable healthy fare such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk.
Poor and “at-risk” children around the country will get free nutritious meals from U.S. taxpayers and the government will have the power to decide what exactly constitutes healthy cuisine. The law will also help communities establish local farm to school networks, create school gardens, and ensure that more local foods are used in the school setting. The idea is to slash greasy foods and extra calories by letting the government regulate what can be consumed on school grounds, including vending machines and at fundraisers.
That puts bake sales on the chopping block. Under the new measure, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will decide if and when schools can have bake sales and the agency has the authority to ban them all together. After all, the USDA provides leadership on food, agriculture and natural resources based on “sound public policy” and science. No word yet on the results of any national bake-sale studies.
The federal government should not be in the business of regulating this sort of activity at the local level, according to a national group that represents school board districts across the country. But the First Lady insists that government intervention is necessary when it comes to child nutrition because “we can’t just leave it up to the parents.”
Earlier this year Michelle Obama asserted that childhood obesity is a threat to national security. A few months later she declared war against French fries, advising restaurants to serve apple slices or carrots with hamburgers in lieu of the popular fried potato strips.
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