A few months ago, the blogosphere was in a tizzy over an episode in which a North Carolina “government inspector” allegedly forced a child to trade in her home-packed lunch of a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice because the meal did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines; instead the child was forced to take the school meal of chicken nuggets. As you might imagine, conservative commentators in particular, including Rush Limbaugh, seized on the story as evidence of the nanny state run amok.
But as I shared with you at the time, an intrepid blogger named Mark Thompson dug into the story and concluded that the “forced swap” never actually occurred. Instead, he reported that the child — a preschooler –was simply told to go through the lunch line to get a milk to round out her meal but mistakenly took the entire school lunch instead.
Regardless of what actually may have happened, the North Carolina state senate has now unanimously passed a bill which would prohibit schools from supplementing home-made lunches that don’t meet minimum nutritional standards.
Jerry Tillman, the state senator who crafted the bill in an effort to “take a little bit of the nanny state’s authority away from them,” told the Fay Observer:
The kid may be making their own bad lunch, they may just have Oreos and a candy bar in there. Sometimes that will happen,” Tillman said. “The school then has the responsibility at least to warn the parents that ‘I don’t think this is a good, nutritious lunch, and we will have to make a call to Social Services.’ That’s fine for school people to do that.
As my school food colleague Dana Woldow pointed out to me in an email, it’s pretty amusing that an opponent of the nanny state somehow thinks it would be less intrusive for a school to get Social Services involved, rather than just handing the child a piece of fruit or a carton of milk.
But, that said, I know many Lunch Tray readers of all political stripes were offended by the notion of anyone having the right to peer into their child’s lunch box.
The bill is now pending before the North Carolina House of Representatives. I’ll keep you posted here.
Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 3,300 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (or follow on Twitter) and you’ll get your Lunch delivered fresh daily, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also check out my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post.