July 18 2014

Federal Food Regulations Taking a Bite Out of Special Education Programs?

Vicki E. Alger

Selling snacks and sweets has been a school fundraising staple for generations. But those days might be coming to an end. As the Sun News’ Vicki Grooms reports:

Students at Socastee High School [in Mrtyle Beach, South Carolina] are accustomed to buying Chick-fil-A sandwiches at school during their break, but the practice will stop in the fall due to the latest round of federal nutrition guidelines aimed at instilling healthy habits in students.

The Smart Snacks in School nutrition program, required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, took effect July 1 and places more restrictions on snack foods and beverages sold to students during the school day. The new standards are expected to change some vending machine choices and specialty meal offerings for students, as well as goodies eaten at class celebrations and items sold for school fundraisers.

Some of the new regulations require snack items to have 200 calories or less. Sodium must be equal to or less than 230 milligrams, although that number will drop to 200 milligrams in 2016.

Entree calories must be equal to or less than 350 calories, and sodium must be equal to or less than 480 milligrams. Total fat in snacks and entrees must be equal to or less than 35 percent of calories, with saturated fat less than 10 percent of calories and zero grams of trans fat.

Socastee High students who liked their Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches will be out of luck in the fall, as a regular sandwich contains 440 calories and 1,390 milligrams of sodium, according to the company’s website. The sandwich loss also will affect the school’s special education students, whose field trips were funded by the sales.

Other school clubs and teams are also being hard hit by the new regulations, which now effectively ban sales of candy bars and other fundraiser goodies.

This is yet another unintended consequence of government food regulations. Letting parents decide what—if any—goodies their children can eat makes more sense, keeps decision-making where it belongs, and better ensures children have sensible food options—including chicken sandwiches or candy bars when parents agree.

 

 

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