Food

Trump's School Lunch Changes Lead to a Pointless Food Fight

"It's unconscionable that the Trump administration would do the bidding of the potato and junk food industries," noted one critic. But Trump's changes are relatively minor.

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In January, President Donald Trump's administration announced changes to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National School Lunch Program, which was previously overhauled by former first lady Michelle Obama.

"The Occupant is trying to play petty with the food our babies eat," tweeted Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D–Mass.) in response to the changes. "Add it to the list affirming that the cruelty is the point with this White House."

Sam Kass, who served as executive director of Obama's Let's Move! obesity reduction program, proclaimed to The New York Times, "It's unconscionable that the Trump administration would do the bidding of the potato and junk food industries."

In truth, Trump's changes are relatively minor. They allow participating schools to more easily serve a la carte items, such as hamburgers, as snacks; they reduce the amount of fruit required at breakfast; and they change the types of vegetables required at lunch. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says these changes were made at the behest of school districts and could reduce food waste.

What's more, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that Democrats say Trump is undermining wasn't exactly built on flawless nutritional science. It required participating schools to serve low-fat or nonfat milk instead of whole milk, despite scant evidence that whole milk leads to weight gain. Complying with the fruit requirement sometimes saw schools giving low-income children two whole bananas with breakfast, despite the fact that starchy carbs are cheap and readily available to low-income households, while high-quality proteins are harder to afford for families relying on assistance.

The National School Lunch Program dates back to 1946 and is intended to make it easy for schools to feed their poorest students. Though Obama's changes sounded good on the surface, they may have contributed to a decline in participation in the program, which peaked in 2011 and has been dropping ever since. Strict school lunch requirements are futile if kids don't end up eating what's offered—something this administration aims to fix.

While you won't hear this from either side, the continued federalization of subsidized lunch is probably a bad idea. Washington has a long history of publishing unscientific and outdated nutrition science, and it takes years to revise itself. While many school districts may, in fact, need financial help to feed their poorest students, making that money contingent on adhering to federal menus is a recipe for conflict and political point-scoring rather than serious policymaking.

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  1. “‘The Occupant is trying to play petty with the food our babies eat,’ tweeted Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D–Mass.)”

    “The Occupant” – is that like “Occupied Palestine”?

    1. He’s not the real president. Hillary is. She won the popular vote. He’s just the Occupant who was put into the White House by the outdated Electoral College. He is as illegitimate as a child born out of wedlock. Except that you’re not supposed to call a bastard a bastard. Unless their parents are Republicans.

      1. Look up “rhetorical question”

        1. Or you could look at his handle, of which yours appears to be a parody.

      2. Change Your Life Right Now! Work From Comfort Of Your Home And Receive Your First Paycheck Within A Week. No Experience Needed, No Boss Over Your Shoulder… SZx.Say Goodbye To Your Old Job! Limited Number Of Spots Open…
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      3. Sorry, but there’s a good reason for the Electoral College. If 48 states all vote 53% to 47% for one candidate, but California, New York and Washington DC all vote 72% for the other candidate, then 2 States plus DC get to tell 48 states to go to hell. Maybe Hillary should have given a damn about campaigning to be the National President

    2. His name is a killing word.

      1. A shibboless. Shibolense. Shibolette. Shibolent. Shit. You know the word I’m trying to say.

        1. Muad’Dib

      2. Time for the Golden Haired Path!

    3. Ayanna has the mental acumen of a Jeff. How is this lady on Congress?

    4. Trump has literally become “he who shall not be named” for some of these fuckwits.

      Though to be fair, I have heard that if you go into a dark bathroom, look into the mirror and say “Donald Trump” three times he appears and grabs you by your pussy (or dick if you’re a man). Sounds kind of far fetched to me, but really why risk even saying his name out loud.

    5. Unless Pressley is a full-blooded Wampanoag or other NE tribal member, she’d better get her occupying ass out of Massachusetts.

    6. He got rejected by a bald woman! A BALD WOMAN!

  2. How is it even possible that Trump can’t get a single thing right, in the opinion of dems and never Trumpers??
    Give it a rest already!!!

    1. Please disregard that comma after the word ‘right’….Sometimes, I lack comma sense.

  3. Funny that whoever wrote the headline spun the actual article. Wolfe makes it plain that the Administration made some minor changes that made the program better and yet the usual suspects are bleating, the headline writer blames Trump for stirring up trouble as if the Heckler’s Veto were a valid thing. If only Trump did what the Democrats wanted him to do we wouldn’t have all this rancor and divisiveness.

    1. Did you read the same article? The one I read said that Trump made some minor changes at the request of the school districts, and the Democrats had kittens.

      1. And I don’t see how the headline is inconsistent with that.

        That’s everyone’s cue to launch attacks and insults about how I’m not a true libertarian, I’m an anarchist, I voted for Hillary, I defend Reason, I’m a sock that works for Reason and runs ten other handles, I’m an uneducated rube, I said JesseAZ wanted to kill people, I quote smart people because I’m stupid, blah, blah, blah, all because I dared to disagree with a Trump supporter. Did that cover it?

        1. Nah I think we all just wonder why you constantly whine about people criticizing reason then get salty/bitchy when people call you on it.

          I mean, all that other stuff is true and knowing it is true clearly bothers you, but Reason has people to white knight for it, your services aren’t required.

        2. Yes. You lie a lot because you have undeveloped and shallow ideas. Glad we are in agreement.

          1. We have already established, many times, that I had you confused with Nardz when I said you wanted people to be killed, and that I apologized when I looked back and saw my mistake. You know this. So that makes you the liar. It’s pretty ironic that your only example of me telling a lie is a lie.

            1. Well no, you lied then apologized. That doesn’t erase your lie, nor give you leave to recast it as a “mistake”

              1. It’s not a lie if you believe it to be true when you say it. That is what’s called a mistake.

        3. And by the way, do you want all the times you were post 2 or 3 in a thread and tried castigating everyone apriori for being a trump cultist? Let’s not pretend you’ve attempted neutrality or non condescending discussions.

          You’re now in stage 3 of being a Jeff, you’re attempting to claim neutrality and ignoring how you’ve actually participated in the past.

          1. He has no ability to engage in self-analyisis or all that shit he is clearly bothered by other people pointing out wouldbt even be news to him

            But no, when he comes into a thread and shits it up complaining about Trump before anyone else even posts, it’s somehow not him just being a bitchy troll.

  4. I have kids in public school. Are Elementary School is a Title 1 school, which means that we get extra from the federal government for food programs.

    Even in a situation like this, where the kids are supposedly in need, the vast majority of the Obama mandated food goes uneaten.

    We recently instituted a giving table. If the kids decide they’re not going to eat something, they can place it on the giving table instead of throwing it away.

    So much food comes to the giving table that local charities are unable to absorb it all. And because of food storage requirements, it costs the PTA quite a bit to collect and store the food. In fact, we have to have a volunteer on site to supervise the donations.

    We literally fill an entire refrigerator with chocolate milk a couple of times a week.

    A part of the giving table is that the kids can come grab an extra milk or something if they want to. It still ends up being more then the Charities can give away.

    The Obama food mandates were entirely out of touch with the reality of children. Kids in elementary school barely eat their lunch as it is. Then you give them broccoli rabe? Yeah…that is a waste.

    1. We recently instituted a giving table. If the kids decide they’re not going to eat something, they can place it on the giving table instead of throwing it away.

      We literally fill an entire refrigerator with chocolate milk a couple of times a week.

      The most disturbing thing about this story is that so many kids don’t like chocolate milk. What the hell is wrong with kids these days?

      1. It’s probably that ridiculous chocolate skim milk.

        1. It isn’t at my school and so many kids don’t drink it. Seems like they don’t eat anything unless it’s chips.

  5. “Complying with the fruit requirement sometimes saw schools giving low-income children two whole bananas with breakfast…”

    Unless you are someone on a sports training regimen that requires high caloric intake, who eats two bananas at one meal?

    1. Um…..Tony?

  6. Look out! Bacon shortage coming! This is serious folks.

    Smithfield Foods (OTCPK:WHGLY), the world’s largest pork processor, is shuttering two U.S. plants that process bacon and ham, after closing a separate hog slaughterhouse because of a coronavirus outbreak among employees.

    1. How will democrats survive with less pork?

    2. Let’s see if I can’t crash Reason’s comment system…

      Can’t you just eat turkey bacon instead?

      1. My college roommate once ate a pound of my nice, thick-sliced, applewood smoked, locally sourced pork bacon – and replaced it with some low-sodium turkey bacon. Low sodium pork bacon is bad enough (smells like bacon, tastes like ham – barely) but turkey on top of that? I don’t think a jury would have convicted me.

  7. I have kids in public school. Our Elementary School is a Title 1 school, which means that we get extra from the federal government for food programs.

    Even in a situation like this, where the kids are supposedly in need, the vast majority of the Obama mandated food goes uneaten.

    We recently instituted a giving table. If the kids decide they’re not going to eat something, they can place it on the giving table instead of throwing it away.

    So much food comes to the giving table that local charities are unable to absorb it all. And because of food storage requirements, it costs the PTA quite a bit to collect and store the food. In fact, we have to have a volunteer on site to supervise the donations.

    We literally fill an entire refrigerator with chocolate milk a couple of times a week.

    A part of the giving table is that the kids can come grab an extra milk or something if they want to. It still ends up being more then the Charities can give away.

    The Obama food mandates were entirely out of touch with the reality of children. Kids in elementary school barely eat their lunch as it is. Then you give them broccoli rabe? Yeah…that is a waste. Plus, they are not allowed to Simply take what they want. The school lunch mandates require that they take each of the items that goes with the meal.

    It all sounds good in theory. But in reality, the kids will take the salad choice because they want the tiny packet of 4 yogurt covered raisins. They throw the entire rest of the plate away.

    I was stunned that kids today don’t even drink chocolate milk. Far, far less than half of the kids will drink their milk. It doesn’t make any sense to me, but that’s how it is in reality.

    1. Force-feeding will solve this problem.

    2. Didn’t you hear? Drinking milk is the new cigarette smoking…
      The milk protein, casein, increases the growth of cancer cells.
      I’m wondering if the study was conducted by PETA…????

  8. The most hilarious part is that loosening the Federal guidelines doesn’t change what kids are offered unless the local school district chooses to change what’s offered.

    If the only thing preventing your local school district from engaging in “cruelty” or doing something “unconscionable” is a Federal regulation, you’ve got much deeper problems than Trump to deal with.

    1. Uh, there is a slight ‘nudging’ in the money that comes from the federal taxpayers. Which, of course, is the entire problem.

      1. But in this particular case, the government is saying you can have the money and you don’t have to follow quite as many restrictions.

        This is what people are calling the Apocalypse.

        Because politics is stupid.

      2. Loosening guidelines doesn’t stop someone from voluntarily following the previous, stricter guidelines. If previously the rule was “Give the kids at least X amount of fruit or you lose funding” and the new rule is “Give kids however much fruit you like, you still get funding”, the Federal Government isn’t forcing, pushing, or even nudging school districts into giving less fruit. They’re just ceasing to demand as much fruit. So, if giving less fruit is “cruelty” and “unconscionable”, well, only a school district run by cruel, unconscionable people will respond to Federal permission by actually doing so. And if the school district is run by cruel, unconscionable people, you’ve got a lot worse problems than Federal school lunch requirements to deal with.

        1. Exactly. And the guidelines are lame. The biggest problem with the school lunch program is that it winds up being basically a subsidy for certain food industries. Adding on regulations is never going to cure that problem. The Obama’s didn’t get that when they attempted to “fix” the program. If anything, we need to loosen even more of the regulations.

  9. OT (I suppose) But I’m just curious, was unaware of this ‘zine during the Obama years so I would not have seen it. Did Reason ever use food to caricature Obama? I don’t think this is the first one I have seen here.

    1. Pretty sure they did had one of Obama’s face made out of vegetables back during the “can the government force you to eat broccoli” business. Simpler times…

    2. You have a sharp eye. Didn’t even see it..

  10. Come to think of it, the scary lunch lady is the perfect metaphor for Progressive government.

    1. The Scary Lunch Lady is the local REPRESENTATIVE of “Progressive” government.

  11. “The Occupant is trying to play petty with the food our babies eat,” tweeted Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D–Mass.) in response to the changes.

    Once again, if you can’t even name your opposition, you’ve already lost.

    1. That moron and I don’t use that term loosely thinks that all kids eat the shit schools put out? Seriously…this idiot should be immediately removed from office for stupidity and anyone who voted for her needs a serious mental checkup

  12. Sorry, but there’s a good reason for the Electoral College. If 48 states all vote 53% to 47% for one candidate, but California, New York and Washington DC all vote 72% for the other candidate, then 2 States plus DC get to tell 48 states to go to hell. Maybe Hillary should have given a damn about campaigning to be the National President

    1. I don’t like the electoral college because I live in California. I could argue the one man one vote idea, but it is simply self serving. I should not expect anyone in a state that would lose out by such a change to undermine their own best interests. It isn’t going to change in our lifetimes, so it is a mute point.

  13. why the hell is govt involved in this at all? My mom made me a PB or Egg Salad with an apple and chips…in my Six Million Dollar man lunch box…and I bought a milk for 25 cents. First get rid of the whole student lunch subsidizes from DC. Let the local school board decide on the lunch rules…if the kids bring their lunch eventually the cafeteria will have to make something they like or be eliminated. This whole idea that schools should be feeding our young because their fucking parents can’t do what my mom did is ridiculous. It only provides business for the companies who run the whole school lunch complex…and I’m sure some democratic wokes runs some consulting firm which “advises” schools on proper nuitriion all funded by the Feds….man just get rid of the dept of education once and for all..

    1. One must bear in mind, however, that the reason hot school lunch programs exist is because they’re valuable in communities where not everybody gets a good meal, and the school lunches are the best meal that some kids get all day. Not all parents can afford to shop for really nourishing food for their kids.

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