Mr. Speaker, the Federal food police are whipping up their latest batch of distasteful government regulations. With a government fist around an iron spatula, the Federal Government has become the new Mr. Bumble from the book ``Oliver Twist.''
The food police have placed unhealthy and illogical regulations on menus for government school lunches across the fruited plain. This is just more unneeded, unnecessary, and unwarranted Federal Government invasion of what school kids eat. The Federal Government now is trying to raise America's children.
In an effort to control, dictate, and give children a nanny state society, school lunches have gotten watered down to a skimpy new low. After strict portion control and outlandish so-called nutrition standards, school lunches have become as exciting as detention. The food is unappealing and lacking in nutrition.
So what have students done? They have taken their frustrations to Twitter, taking photos of government-dictated school lunches. An Oklahoma school student tweeted a picture of a few chicken nuggets, a half an apple, and a piece of bread, complaining, ``Thanks for the fulfilling lunch.'' More and more students are catching on, saying sarcastically, ``I will be full for days,'' and ``Thanks for the delicious lunch, sure was filling.''
A parent eating lunch with their child at school was stunned after seeing the lunch portions. And here she took a photograph of the lunch. Here it is. And she said correctly, ``This is sad.'' Here you have a little condiment package. Here you have a bun with a something in between, and then you have a half a fruit over on the other side. Isn't this a lovely lunch? If a parent had anything to do with this, the Federal Government would probably accuse them of child neglect.
There is a 350-calorie limit in place for entrees. So that means taking two packets of ketchup or mayonnaise would put the student over the allowed limit. Kids find themselves in an ``Oliver Twist'' situation with the workhouse headmaster, Mr. Bumble, and having to fearfully ask, ``More please, sir?'' And of course just like in the book, the answer is a loud ``No.''
Kids need the energy to learn, to pay attention, and to focus. That energy comes from food. The cafeteria takeover by the Federal Government is leaving students--believe it or not--hungry.
How can we expect children operating on a lunch of no more than 350 calories to make it through the day? What about athletes and afterschool programs? Whether the student plays football or plays an instrument in the marching band, a dinky lunch just won't cut it.
Meghan Hellrood, a student at D.C. Everest High School in Wisconsin, is protesting the required ``healthy'' lunches by promising other students unlimited condiments that she herself will bring to school. Now, I wonder if the Federal Government will charge her with smuggling the forbidden condiments. Who knows?
Students all over the United States have started to speak out. Pictures of a lunch with two pieces of cauliflower, some ham, and a piece of cheese have surfaced, or three cherry tomatoes, skim milk, and some cheesy bread. This sounds more like the tasteless gruel Oliver Twist was served in the book ``Oliver Twist.''
Kids who buy their lunch but opt out of the side of fruits or vegetables are still charged for the whole meal, resulting in wasted food. There has been an 84 percent increase in wasted school lunches that are just thrown in the trash.
These regulations just aren't working. So what is next? Is the government going to force-feed kids who don't eat the government food lunches? The level of Federal Government intrusion is foolish, and it seems to be arrogant.
The time is now to protect schools from Mr. Bumble bureaucrats. Interestingly enough, some of the bureaucrats in Washington making the rules for government schools send their kids to private schools, which are not under the same absurd food regulations.
Mere calorie counting is not a viable healthy option. More physical activities in schools may be needed. In any event, it is the duty and responsibility of parents and local schools to decide what their kids eat in school, not the nanny, Mr. Bumble, and the bureaucrats in Washington.
Parents should raise their kids, not the Federal Government. Federal food police don't belong in a local school cafeteria.
And that is just the way it is.