By Jacob Sullum
Carolina Journal reports that a state inspector at West Hoke Elementary School in Raeford, North Carolina, recently deemed a 4-year-old girl's home-packed lunch nutritionally inadequate, decreeing that it be replaced by food from the school cafeteria.
The magazine, which is published by the John Locke Foundation, explains the source of this lunch review authority:
The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs—including in-home day care centers—to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.
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But Jani Kozlowski, the division's fiscal and statutory policy manager, tells Carolina Journal the rejected lunch—which consisted of a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, potato chips, and apple juice—did in fact meet USDA guidelines, which call for one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables.
By contrast, the meal the girl ending up eating thanks to the state employee's prodding—three chicken nuggets—did not. Adding insult to injury, the school billed the little girl's mother (who complained to her state representative but did not want to be publicly identified) $1.25 for the mandated substitution.