First Lady Michelle Obama’s federal lunch regulations have students in one Indiana school district going home hungry, and the district reporting thousands of dollars in losses.
According to JCOnline, Carmel Clay, Ind., has reported $300,000 in losses because of the school lunches mandated by Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative. Guidelines for the meals were implemented by the Department of Agriculture last summer.
The agency requires schools to provide students with a pre-determined serving of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and puts a limit on the amount of meat in each serving. As a result, many students — especially those who are younger — in the Indiana district have chosen to throw their food away instead of clearing their plates. Others have decided to opt out of the National School Lunch Program.
“I’ve had a lot of complaints, especially with the little guys,” Linda Wireman, a food service director for North White School Corp., told JCOnline. “They get a three-quarters cup of vegetables, but if it’s something they don’t like, it goes down the garbage disposal.”
Lori Shofroth, food service director at another Indiana district, echoed Wireman’s statements telling JCOnline the program is teaching “our kids with this meal pattern that it’s OK to throw away.”
Shofroth added that her agency did a waste study on three different schools in Indiana and uncovered there was a huge amount of waste of produce, fruit, vegetables and milk.
Amy Anderson, a registered dietician and food service director for Carmel Clay Schools, also fired back at the program, saying first lady’s nutrition program assumes “that every student doesn’t have access to food.”
“…that’s incorrect in this community,” she said. “Our kids can just wait and just hop in their BMWs and go to McDonald’s, which they’re rebuilding, making it bigger.”
Anderson added that the new rules make her feel like a “food cop” instead of an educator, and because of this, she may choose to retire early.
But in an area where in 2011, 15 percent of the high school seniors were obese, Anderson has an important job to do.
Still, the Indiana district is not the only one feeling pressure under the strict guidelines. The burden of the over-regulatory program has also had a negative effect on the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school district in New York, which chose to drop the National School Lunch Program after it reportedly cost them $100,000.
And it’s not just cafeteria’s being hit with the first lady’s healty-eating kick. As part of the “Smart Snacks in Schools” program, schools nationwide will be forced to eliminate junk food from vending machines.