Food Policy

Food Ban Fail

How the cookie crumbles

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ginnerobot / Foter

The Elyria, Ohio, school district made a darn good cookie-so good that Cleveland magazine declared the pink-frosted confection the city's "Best Cafeteria Cookie" in 2009. But this fall, the federal food police decided to put an end to the award-winning treat.

The Chronicle-Telegram broke the bad news in August that a federal "edict calling for school districts to provide more fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains to students along with fewer calories, fat and cholesterol has resulted in the loss of the pink cookie." The school food services director lamented that "the guidelines for snacks are very strict, and there is no wiggle room."

The bakers were still permitted to take special orders, and the chorus of dismay at the demise of the "perfect cookie" grew from local fans like Elyria's own mayor to curious dessertophiles nationwide. Demand skyrocketed, and within a few days the school received over 100 orders from Minnesota, Hawaii, even Canada. Meanwhile, the school is considering a way around the regulation: not by changing its butter-heavy recipe, as the feds would like, but simply by making the cookie smaller, so it contains fewer calories.