Free Markets, Free People
Nanny state: The lunch inspector
Stories like this infuriate me. They again point to the depth to which government has come to intrude in our lives. And yes, while this is an anecdote, it points to the wider problem of increasing intrusion and the loss of our freedoms. Tyranny by a thousand paper cuts.
The incident took place in a North Carolina pre-school of all places. There, a “lunch inspector” rejected the home packed lunch a 4 year old and required the child eat a school provided lunch instead, claiming the home packed lunch didn’t meet USDA requirements.
The child in question then ate all of 3 chicken nuggets for lunch as provided by the school and threw the rest away.
Now, the fact that the “lunch inspector” was wrong isn’t the story. The lunch provided by the mother was more than acceptable by the USDA standard which requires 1 serving of meat, 1 serving of grain and one serving of fruit or vegetable. The mother had packed a turkey sandwich, a banana, potato chips and apple juice. The “lunch inspector” mistakenly believe that the lack of a vegetable disqualified the lunch.
The story, as far as I’m concerned is that the “lunch inspector” exists at all.
This is the problem:
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."
Really? If ever there was a place the state has no business, its poking its long nose in my child’s lunch box. None of the Nanny’s freaking business.
Who knows better what their child will eat, the state or the family? Ever try to feed a 4 year old? Forget the fact that the lunch packed was better than the meal the child was served and ate at school, or that the home provided lunch met and exceeded the USDA guidelines. The fact that someone poked their state approved nose where it had on business is the problem.
Oh, and here’s reality of these sorts of misguided programs.
The bottom line: back off, government! The responsibility for children belong to parents whether you like it or not. You can’t both demand they take responsibility and then usurp that responsibility at will when the state decides it “knows better” for whatever arbitrary and god-awful reason.
This anecdote highlights a mostly silent and progressive usurpation of parental rights and authority. It is happening everywhere, because, you see, the “experts” always know best.