Green Room

Nutrition Bill Would Limit School Bake Sales

posted at 2:16 pm on December 4, 2010 by

Here’s an idea for the First Lady. Why not simply place a moratorium on childhood? If we insist that children behave themselves like little adults from the time they take their first steps, there will be no childhood obesity because there won’t be children.

That idea makes almost as much sense as Michelle Obama’s latest recommendation in her pet project to end the scourge of fat kids. The idea is to give the federal government the authority to limit school bake sales.

The idea has already been tested out, by outgoing New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, who called for a moratorium on school bake sales in city schools in March. Maybe Mrs. Obama can implement the second phase of Klein’s policy, which green lighted the sale of Doritos, Pop-Tarts, and other empty-calorie food products on school grounds.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to instilling healthful behaviors in our children. What I’m opposed to is the government mandating those behaviors. It might help their cause further if the First Lady’s White House Task Force on Obesity Report delivered to the president’s desk last May were not filled distortions and mischaracterizations of the childhood obesity epidemic.

The effort to control school bake sales is the latest in a spate of well-intentioned but hare-brained schemes to impose the government’s will on the populace while limiting personal freedoms. Previous schemes included spending taxpayer dollars to add 5,000 salad bars to public schools nationwide. Concerns expressed by communities over how local health inspectors would oversee the safety of the exposed food fell on deaf ears.

Of the plan to limit school bake sales, Lucy Gettman of the National School Boards Association, said on Friday, a day after the House cleared the bill:

This could be a real train wreck for school districts. The federal government should not be in the business of regulating this kind of activity at the local level.

Indeed, if the government is permitted to intrude into how schools raise funds, which is one of the motivations for bake sales, what is to stop them from sending inspectors into private homes to case out the family pantry? After all, it’s all in the name of protecting you from yourself.

In the meantime, maybe the First Lady and her hubby could set a better example by making their own well-publicized snack attacks—which include scarfing down ice cream, cookies, and fast food burgers—less frequent. Or at least less conspicuous.

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Cross-posted at Libertarian Examiner. Follow me on Twitter or join me at Facebook. You can reach me at howard.portnoy@gmail.com or by posting a comment below.

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I don’t see a Federal interest in the schools at all, myself — there’s nothing about it in the Constitution, and the 10th Amendment would seem to apply.

cthulhu on December 4, 2010 at 3:20 PM

Our public elementary school has NO cafeteria. The kids bring in their own lunches and any “free” lunches are also brown bag. Then, the PTA has 2 different hot meal fundraisers- Fun Lunch (2 times a month) (hot dogs,pizza) and Healthy mealsx 2 times a month (whole foods salads etc). As a parent I can CHOOSE to do/pay for every hot meal- 4 times a month or do 1,2,3.

Then the 6th grade does a pizza fundraiser meal- 1 a week for x amt of time. I can CHOOSE to do those too. I don’t.

The kids see all types of food in their friends brown bag- asian, hispanic, american etc and lo and behold by the end of the year the first graders are actually trying something new!

It works. Take out the cafeterias. Convert it to a second gym, a library, a computer room.

journeyintothewhirlwind on December 4, 2010 at 4:20 PM

The AP story I read had a spokesmouth from Center for Science in the Public Interest, or as I call them, the Center for Science in the Interest of Public Annoyance.

I’m telling you guys, if there is ANYTHING that CSPI (or CSIPA) is in favor of, you should take the opposite stance, stat!

gryphon202 on December 4, 2010 at 4:24 PM

Indeed, if the government is permitted to intrude into how schools raise funds, which is one of the motivations for bake sales, what is to stop them from sending inspectors into private homes to case out the family pantry? After all, it’s all in the name of protecting you from yourself.

Well now they can do it because the schools (and the school lunch programs) get federal commodities and money from the USDA — or at least that’s their justification. The next step will be casing the pantries and kitchens of welfare recipients, particularly those on SNAP (what they used to call “food stamps”). It’ll only be a matter of time…

gryphon202 on December 4, 2010 at 4:26 PM

moochelle looks like she is stealing pumpkins every time yo see her from the rear.

tarpon on December 4, 2010 at 4:57 PM

Here’s the salad!
Eat the salad!
Damn, do I have to do everything in this governement?

Kyle Kiernan on December 4, 2010 at 11:42 PM

Isn’t it weird that moochelle and Odmubo want any way that raises money that don’t hand out banned?

tarpon on December 5, 2010 at 6:52 AM

The idea that school lunches are wholesome is laughable to me. Has anyone here ever actually eaten them? They’re loaded with fat, salt, sugar, carbs. The “salads” are iceberg lettuce with a few carrot shavings and about half a cup of dressing ladled on top. School lunches are just another means for distributing government cheese and milk.

I am drinking hot chocolate and eating a donut right now. I’ll make a deal with Michelle Obama: When she gets her husband to give up his cancer sticks and stop his daily Five Guys runs, I’ll think about getting behind her anti-obesity campaign. Until then, I think we and our kids will all eat whatever we d@mn well choose.

NoLeftTurn on December 5, 2010 at 12:12 PM

Mr P, again I ask that you link to the story when you’re attacking something. It’s fairly fair.

About 40 percent of New York City elementary and middle school students are overweight or obese, according to the Department of Education.

“This isn’t about limiting choice,” says DOE spokesperson William Havemann. “This isn’t about trying to reduce the amount of money that PTAs, kids, and clubs can make. It’s about making sure that when kids are in school, they’re eating healthy and that we’re not contributing to this problem that is very severe in this city and across the country.”

“Bake sales are not banned,” Havemann says, noting that Parent-Teacher Associations are still allowed to hold sales once a month

audiculous on December 5, 2010 at 5:17 PM

What I’m opposed to is the government mandating those behaviors

Is it the government mandating that children attend school that is the root of your problem?
Or is it that you object to the government’s issuance of all those danged rules about what goes on during the school day and on school property?

audiculous on December 5, 2010 at 5:26 PM

Good luck against the Ravens.
Hope the Rooney’s pre-game meal was Wheaties and spinach, not simple carbs.

audiculous on December 5, 2010 at 9:00 PM

“This isn’t about limiting choice,” says DOE spokesperson William Havemann,

It’s tantamount to limiting choice.

“Bake sales are not banned,” Havemann says, noting that Parent-Teacher Associations are still allowed to hold sales once a month

Ooh, goody–the government man says we’re allowed to have bake sales once a month!

Also, not that you care about facts but I never said bake sales were banned under this legislation. That’s YOUR dirty pictures.

What in the world is wrong with you?

Howard Portnoy on December 6, 2010 at 4:52 PM

dear Mr P,

I care quite a bit about the facts and the fact is that the several government have always limited the range of allowable activity in school and on school property.
There’s no sane way of not imposing rules and limits.

You’re barking up the wrong tree when you complain about limiting sales of sweets on school property and neither the regulations nor the results from regulating the sales are even a tiny bit objectionable.

The post is senseless complaining and nowhere in it say anything sensible. Why in the wide, wide world shouldn’t the government be pushing kids away from cake and limiting the sale of it? You think that the rest of the day doesn’t allow opportunity for acquiring and eating it?

audiculous on December 6, 2010 at 5:41 PM