- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 13, 2001

The problem with citizens of the United States is that we don't know what's good for us. As a result, the government tells us what we should eat and what we should avoid. The latest release from the food police, otherwise known as the Agriculture Department, is a report requested by Congress pointing out that junk food in our schools contributes to obesity and health problems. The government wants to legislate menus for our children. The school cafeteria is to be run like a mess hall.

Uncle Sam seems to object to the fact that there are so many pop machines and vending machines dispensing all kinds of victuals that kids love. Many of these items generate funds for school band uniforms or trips to perform in parades and stadiums. Let's not forget those Girl Scout cookies that may be shortening our lives with their sugar content. The government intends to force schools to serve only foods that meet their nutritional standards. I hope this isn't the present administration's idea of less government.

The president of the American School Food Association objects to the fact that there is nothing to prevent the student from spending their money on pop and candy. I think the key word here is that it is their money. Perhaps we should have machines dispensing broccoli and cauliflower. Freedom of choice doesn't seem to be an option in the Agriculture Department. Do these people really feel they can force their idea of a good, nutritious meal down the throats of our children?

While the department does set standards for school lunches and breakfasts, they cannot regulate what is sold outside of the cafeteria. That would take an act of Congress, and I can't believe we are at that point in this so-called free society. I hope we are not coming to the day when a billboard featuring a cheeseburger will not be allowed within a hundred yards of a school. The reason we have so many vending machines in and around the school should be evident. The food served is usually lousy, and even worse, you have to stand in line to get it.

Should Congress outlaw candy and pop (fat chance), I'm sure there will be many young entrepreneurs operating brisk candy and snack businesses out of their lockers or those already overloaded backpacks. What we do not need is another agency like the EPA controlling our lives. If the Department of Agriculture can tell us what can be served in schools, how long will it be before they decide what can be sold in supermarkets?

This report was requested during the Clinton administration, which should tell us a lot. Democrats feel their constituents are morons and need to be guided by the government from cradle to grave. We have a government that regulates fat content in the food served in our schools. That should be as far as it goes, and it also explains why kids don't want to eat there. I think the motto of the Agriculture people is, “If it tastes good, spit it out.” When it comes to trimming fat, we should probably be looking at why we are paying for this kind of intrusion into our lives.

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