May 29 2012
Federal Food Fight at the Taxpayers’ Table
Vicki E. Alger
Parents, reach for your wallets. The federal Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, which classifies pizza as a vegetable, is coming to a school near you this fall. Washingtonwatch.com projects this new program will cost the average American Family nearly $350. BeyondChron reports:
A less heavily publicized aspect of the HHFK Act is the requirement that the US Department of Agriculture, which oversees school meals, issue far reaching nutritional regulations for all food sold at school, not just for the food in the federally subsidized school meal programs. For the first time, the USDA will regulate all food which is sold competitively with those programs, including cafeteria a la carte lines, school vending machines, school stores, and most school fundraising sales. … One area the new USDA regs will not be addressing is food sent from home not intended for sale - that is, student lunch boxes, and food for sharing at parties and celebrations.
To counteract HHFK, Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado has introduced the SLICE Act (School Lunch Improvements for Children’s Education), which counts pizza as pizza. He’s hoping it will become part of the reauthorization of the Farm Bill being negotiated by Congress now. Interestingly enough, the entire Farm Bill costs American families less than half of what HHFK does, $138.
No word yet on what SLICE would add to that tab, but it is worth wondering why taxpayers struggling to make ends meet as it is must subsidize this federal food fight at all.