MICHELLE OBAMA: GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOUR CHILDREN BUT NOT FOR MINE
In countries where dictators rule, the freedom of the people is often so limited that even their choice of what to eat is restricted. In virtually every such case, while the people groan under the burden of restrictions, the dictators remain free to choose. In the case of school lunches, that relationship is precisely how Michelle Obama likes it. She demands that public school kids accept federally mandated food restrictions that are not imposed on her own daughters Sasha and Malia.
In 2010, Michelle Obama became an outspoken proponent of U.S. Department of Agriculture meal regulations that implement the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Those regulations have compelled every public school across the nation to change their menus to exclude foods that exceed set sodium, fat, and calorie limits and to include whole grains, fruits and vegetables in place of other foods. The results have been disastrous with students complaining loudly about the awful tasting and choice limiting foods and parents, teachers and school administrators lobbying Congress for relief.
Last week, in defending the USDA rules she demanded be implemented, Michelle Obama said in classic Orwellian double speak: “The last thing that we can afford to do right now is play politics with our kids’ health . . .” She then added something even more hypocritical: “It’s unacceptable to me not just as first lady, but as a mother.”
Truth be told“as a mother,” Michelle Obama has imposed public school lunch restrictions that are far from what she finds acceptable for her own daughters Sasha and Malia. The Obamas send their children to a magnificent private school, Sidwell Friends in Washington, D.C. Sidwell Friends does not abide by the sodium, fat, and calorie restrictions or by the food ingredient inclusions and exclusions that Michelle Obama sees fit for USDA to impose on all public schools. Rather, Sasha and Malia dine weekly on a wide variety of gourmet foods made by chefs employed bySidwell Friends. Those meals include foods that are forbidden in the public schools because they exceed USDA rule limits, such as meatball subs, ice cream novelties, deviled egg salad, barbequed chicken wings, barbequed sliders, all natural beef nachos, baked three-cheese lasagna, pepperoni flatbread pizzas, cheese quesadillas, and chicken curry.
Michelle Obama’s credo might be summed up this way: What is good enough for your children is not good enough for mine.
Robert Aderholt, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, has introduced rather modest legislation that would waive the USDA restrictions for financially strapped school districts. That move provoked Michelle Obama to assemble school administrators from Virginia, New York, Maryland, California, Georgia and Tennessee. She presented them as a united front in favor of restrictions on their own freedom to choose what to feed kids in their public schools.
The New York Times reported on May 27 that even the Director of Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign admitted faults with the federal mandates. Sam Kass, who is also a White House Chef who frequently exceeds the school lunch program limits when preparing food for official dinners and the first family, said (according to the Times) that some school districts are indeed facing “legitimate challenges” with the new rules. He gave as an example the requirement that pasta be “whole-grain.” That requirement resulted in pasta for public schools that “didn’t hold up well over time.”
Technical difficulties in accommodating the USDA mandates are not the only problems, the regulations also impose much higher costs and, most significantly, are producing foods that many kids find unpalatable, causing meals to go into trash bins rather than kids’ stomachs. On March 25, Congressman Aderholt put it this way: “I continually hear from . . . schools . . . nationwide that the new regulations have increased program costs, increased food waste, and decreased lunch participation which leads to lower revenue for local schools. I know USDA claims that over 90 percent of schools are in compliance with the new nutrition standards . . . but that does not mean this is easy for schools or that all schools are operating in the black. Schools may be in compliance, but they are struggling.”
This year, the USDA rules expand to embrace restrictions on school breakfast programs and all snack foods. From Michelle Obama’s home state of Illinois, Congressman Rodney Davis has been among the most vocal opponents of the rules.
He says the “one-size-fits-all approach” mandated by the federal government disserves the local schools which endeavor to create healthy meals with affordable ingredients but meals that the kids will actually eat. The food mandates from the feds are frequently confronting turned up noses by the kids, not because they are too proud to eat the food but because they would rather go hungry than eat something unpalatable.
Fortunately for Sasha and Malia, they do not have to deal with the problem their mother has imposed on every public school student in America. Sasha and Malia will continually enjoy Chef made meals that include delicious and nutritious ingredients from a wide variety of gourmet selections that do not comply with the food restrictions Michelle Obama sees fit to impose on those less fortunate.
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