Mystery Over School Lunchbag Inspection by Big Brother
It seems that no one will step up to the plate and take credit for the raid!
Carolina Journal News Reports
Preschooler?s Homemade Lunch Replaced with Cafeteria ?Nuggets?
State agent inspects sack lunches, forces preschoolers to purchase cafeteria food instead
By Sara Burrows
Feb. 14th, 2012
RAEFORD ? A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because the school told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.
The girl?s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the person who was inspecting all lunch boxes in the More at Four classroom that day.
The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs - including in-home day care centers - to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.
When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement them with the missing ones.
The girl's mother - who said she wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter from retaliation - said she received a note from the school stating that students who did not bring a "healthy lunch" would be offered the missing portions, which could result in a fee from the cafeteria, in her case $1.25.
"I don't feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home," the mother wrote in a complaint to her state representative, Republican G.L. Pridgen of Robeson County.
The girl's grandmother, who sometimes helps pack her lunch, told Carolina Journal that she is a petite, picky 4-year-old who eats white whole wheat bread and is not big on vegetables.
"What got me so mad is, number one, don't tell my kid I'm not packing her lunch box properly," the girl's mother told CJ. "I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn't really care for vegetables."
When the girl came home with her lunch untouched, her mother wanted to know what she ate instead. Three chicken nuggets, the girl answered. Everything else on her cafeteria tray went to waste.
"She came home with her whole sandwich I had packed, because she chose to eat the nuggets on the lunch tray, because they put it in front of her," her mother said. "You're telling a 4-year-old. 'oh. your lunch isn't right,' and she's thinking there's something wrong with her food."
While the mother and grandmother thought the potato chips and lack of vegetable were what disqualified the lunch, a spokeswoman for the Division of Child Development said that should not have been a problem.
"With a turkey sandwich, that covers your protein, your grain, and if it had cheese on it, that's the dairy," said Jani Kozlowski, the fiscal and statutory policy manager for the division. "It sounds like the lunch itself would've met all of the standard." The lunch has to include a fruit or vegetable, but not both, she said.
There are no clear restrictions about what additional items - like potato chips - can be included in preschoolers' lunch boxes.
"If a parent sends their child with a Coke and a Twinkie, the child care provider is going to need to provide a balanced lunch for the child," Kozlowski said.
Ultimately, the child care provider can't take the Coke and Twinkie away from the child, but Kozlowski said she "would think the Pre-K provider would talk with the parent about that not being a healthy choice for their child."
It is unclear whether the school was allowed to charge for the cafeteria lunches they gave to every preschooler in the class that day.
The state regulation reads:
"Sites must provide breakfast and/or snacks and lunch meeting USDA requirements during the regular school day. The partial/full cost of meals may be charged when families do not qualify for free/reduced price meals.
"When children bring their own food for meals and snacks to the center, if the food does not meet the specified nutritional requirements, the center must provide additional food necessary to meet those requirements."
Still, Kozlowski said, the parents shouldn't have been charged.
"The school may have interpreted [the rule] to mean they felt like the lunch wasn't meeting the nutritional requirements and so they wanted the child to have the school lunch and then charged the parent," she said. "It sounds like maybe a technical assistance need for that school."
The school principal, Jackie Samuels, said he didn't "know anything about" parents being charged for the meals that day. "I know they eat in the cafeteria. Whether they pay or not, they eat in the cafeteria."
Pridgen's office is looking into the issue.
Sara Burrows is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.
Editor's note, Feb. 15: The first two paragraphs of this story were updated. Neither DHHS nor school officials would identify the person who inspected the homemade lunches and decided they did not meet USDA guidelines. CJ has made multiple requests to DHHS for clarification. In an email to CJ, department spokeswoman Lori Walston said: "As mentioned in the statement from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued last night, this agency is currently working to determine the specifics of this case."
The feds also won their case against an Amish farm that was selling raw milk. Never mind that raw milk is more digestible than processed milk and that the customers wanted raw milk. One customer made this comment:
"I can't believe in 2012 the federal government is raiding Amish farmers at gunpoint all over a basic human right to eat natural food," said one of them, who asked not to be named but received weekly shipments of eggs, milk, honey and butter from Rainbow Acres, a farm near Lancaster, Pa. "In Maryland, they force taxpayers to pay for abortions, but God forbid we want the same milk our grandparents drank."
I was raised on raw milk, delivered it to earn my allowance as a kid and my son had raw milk the first few years of his life. I would use it today if I could get it. A friend of mine buys goat milk labeled "for pets" but she has to keep an eye out for the feds.
When I had raw milk available I also made buttermilk and cottage cheese from it at times. You can't really get there from processed milk. I do occasionally make buttermilk by adding a cup of cultured buttermilk when milk is about to expire, but it's just not the same as fresh churned buttermilk.
The camel has his ugly head in the tent. According to The Carolina Journal big brother is holding his ground, “Parents, we need your assistance with this component,” the letter continued. “Although, we welcome students to bring lunches from home; however, it must be a nutritious, balanced meal with the above requirements. Students, who do not bring a healthy lunch, will be offered the missing portions which may result in a fee from the cafeteria.”
getting stupid. 20 yrs ago they were woried about little skull heads on a skateboard T-shirt in a public school yet there were gang fights right on school grounds going on, it's the "TREND" It'll die down in a few and some other silly stupid crap will be shoved down everyone's throat. "If you will not eat correctly, you will not eat!"
Beef ? er, pink slime ? it?s what?s for school lunch. And I?m okay with it.
By Alexandra Petri
It?s the sort of headline that leaves you stuck in front of the television for three hours, gripping the remote in panic and terror.
What is ?pink slime?? Why is the USDA purchasing 7 million pounds of it for school lunches?
None of the other names for the substance do much for it either. ?Soylent Pink? was floated at one point. Even its official title ?Lean Beef Trimmings,? is little better. Its manufacturer is the vaguely named Beef Products Incorporated (BPI), which could hardly be a less fortunate name. ?We Do Things With Beef,? the name says. ?Move along, there is nothing more to see.?
Pink slime is the meat that the butchers rejected, basically. It's the connective tissue and other leavings, usually outer areas of the carcass that have more opportunities to get exposed to bacteria ? what a 2003 Beef Products, Inc.-financed study referred to as ?larger microbiological populations.? If microbes were hipsters, this would be Williamsburg. It was once shipped off to be used in oil and dog foods, until an entrepreneur thought that it might be salvageable for human consumption.
What gives ?pink slime? its distinctive hue and texture is the process of treating it with ammonia. The usual alkalinity of beef is somewhere around a 6, which is about the middle of the acidic-to-not-particularly-acidic scale. In order to kill E. coli ? a bacteria commonly found in meat, not to be confused with e. e. coli, a bacteria commonly found in erratically punctuated poetry* ? which thrives at higher acidities, some method of increasing the alkalinity of the beef is necessary.
* This is weak, but I defy you to come up with a better joke about beef alkalinity.
So Beef Products Incorporated gases the beef product with ammonia.
Exactly how high the alkalinity of the Beef-ish Product is, as of 2009, remained in question. Some batches were in the neighborhood of 9.5, which is high enough that cooks to whom the beef was shipped for making meatloaf for convicts complained, thinking it had been contaminated. Some batches were in the neighborhood of 7.75, which is, well, not high enough and provokes complaints from the New York Times. Day by day, beef batch by beef batch, Beef Products Incorporated tries to strike some sort of balance between safety and beef that smells like you found it under your sink with the cleaning products.
Lately, something of an outcry began. McDonalds no longer uses the ?pink slime? in its burgers. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver demonstrated an imaginative version of the Lean Beef Trimmings production process to a disturbed-looking group of schoolchildren and their parents, and they all yelled against it.
But the USDA is still ordering 7 million pounds of it for school lunches. Why?
Well, it?s cheap.
Incorporate the treated meat, and you shave 3 cents off the cost of making a pound of ground beef. That?s nothing to sneeze at, and not just in the sense that you shouldn?t be sneezing around ground beef in the first place.
When it comes to food, that?s always the trade-off. Feed more people, less expensively? Or pay more for meat that hasn?t had the chance to get up-close-and-personal with ammonia? On the one extreme are the people who want us to eat only Locally Grown Fully Organic Marvel Foods. Never mind that this is also what they did during the medieval era, when feudalism was the order of the day and no one had invented refrigeration. It?s better for you, or something. On the other hard are people like me, who won?t eat chicken unless you hand me an affidavit saying its life was unpleasant, it lived in a cramped and miserable cage, and that it probably was frozen for months in a strange warehouse and pumped full of chemicals. I like to be reminded of progress. Also, it?s cheaper.
Most people fall somewhere in the middle. And policy around ?Pink Slime? tries to take that into account.
Current regulations allow you to make Beefish Product up to 15 percent of your hamburger, with no labeling about the ammonia (it?s a ?processing agent,? not an ingredient. This makes sense ? if it were labeled as an ingredient, no matter how safe it was, you probably wouldn?t buy it.)
For every celebrity chef darting into your school to insinuate that the food there should be greener and less pinkish, there?s a cost.
Sure, the videos from BPI weren?t exactly reassuring. ?When most people think of ammonia, they probably think of household cleaners,? the video noted. ?But there is so much more to ammonia than you may know. . . . It?s a natural component of all plants and animals!? It?s in chickens! It?s in people shopping at the Banana Republic! It?s in moose, those majestic and natural beasts! I am not making this up.
Foodies have already made our life difficult enough. They force us to differentiate between locally grown, organically nourished chickens and their factory cousins. They oblige us to go to farmers? markets and hunt down exotic squashes. They insist that if you can?t eat locally grown kale, you should feel somehow ashamed.
But if we can prove the slime is safe and it makes more food available more cheaply to more people, I?m not inclined to stand in its way, whether or not it?s technically meat. Perhaps this also explains my dating life. I?d be the first to turn in the beef if it contained any objectionable bacteria. Well, not the first. That?s probably someone at the beef testing area.
After all, the inclusion of an eerie, lumpy substance that only superficially resembles meat is a long tradition of school lunches. It builds character. And in a taste test, some students even preferred the slime mixture. Just rename it, and we?ll be fine.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contacts: Amy Auth, 919-301-1737
May 31, 2012 Brandon Greife, 919-301-1735
Senate Bill Blocks Lunch Box Police
Raleigh, N.C. ? The North Carolina Senate unanimously passed legislation Thursday to protect parents? right to pack their children?s lunches without government intrusion.
Under current law, child care facilities must provide lunches meeting U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines. Lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit and vegetables. If a lunch packed by a parent and does not meet the specified nutritional guidelines, the facility must provide a child with additional food.
In January a North Carolina preschooler?s home-packed lunch, consisting of a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips and apple juice, was deemed by a child care provider to not meet USDA guidelines. The student was given a cafeteria lunch consisting of chicken nuggets and her parents were charged $1.25.
House Bill 503 creates an exception to these nutritional standards for parents and guardians who pack lunches for their children. The bill also ensures that child care facilities are not penalized for parental choices by prohibiting state agencies from evaluating the nutritional value or adequacy of home-packed lunches.