There’s a new black-market product hitting our classrooms. Moms and dads need to pay attention to your kids. Students in Indiana –and perhaps elsewhere- are buying and trading packets of … salt!

During a congressional hearing this week examining the cost of compliance with nutrition regulations for states and schools, a Hartford City school administrator recounted how the Obama administration's regulations on school meals have led to unintended consequences.

The most “colorful” example being the black market for seasoning. Students have been caught bringing – and even selling – salt, pepper, and sugar to school to add taste to the bland and tasteless cafeteria food.

He also highlighted other issues in his distritct’s schools that we’ve heard before such as the meals being too small – especially for those kids who are from households that rely on school lunches as their main meal or athletes who expend a lot of calroies and need the meals to get through their days, and trash is piling up as uneaten food goes wasted, and kids are heading straight to fast food restaurants after school to find something to eat.

In his testimony he highlighted some other impacts:

·       Since 2012, student participation in free and reduced price meals has decreased from 56 to 54 percent in my district with a rise in food waste.

·       Students are avoiding cafeteria food. More students bring their lunch, and a few parents even “check out” their child from campus, taking them to a local fast-food restaurant or home for lunch.

·       It is clearer now with the new restrictions which students are from low-income households and which are not, because the free and reduced price meal has no additions or extra portions, whereas students able to purchase from the ala carte menu can obtain more food.

·       Some kids cannot drink or dislike milk. Our district tried to provide needed calcium to those students with juice, but was cited by the School Nutrition Department within our state education agency and was forced to discontinue the practice.

·       Some food-based in-school fundraisers have been eliminated.

Alas, if only the commander in chief of the school lunch war would read the casualty reports and back off her campaign. Not so for Mrs. Obama.

In an interview with an Italian publication during her recent Italian getaway she was defiant that she would not slowdown in the waning days of the Obama administration. She touted the success of her campaign as “impressive,” but are they really victories! Two million kids have a salad bar in their schools, but how many of them are actually eating at it?

Also, the stigma that kids with free or reduced lunch are gaining because they can’t afford to purchase more food or more food options, is something apparently didn't anticipate but are responsible for.

None of our kids should go hungry but especially not those who need food most.

Once again, we are ever reminded that when Washington comes to town, it usually spells trouble for personal choice and individual freedom. It also spells trouble for public budgets, as there are costs attached to misguided public policies that aim to help us live better lives.