A North Carolina elementary school forced a preschool student to eat cafeteria chicken nuggets for lunch on Jan. 30 after officials reportedly determined that her homemade meal wasn’t up to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s standards for healthfulness, according to a report from the Carolina Journal.
The newspaper reported that the four-year-old girl brought a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, potato chips and apple juice in her packed lunch from home. That meal didn’t meet with approval from the government agent who was on site inspecting kids’ lunches that day.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Child Development and Early Education requires that all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs must meet USDA guidelines. Meals, the guidelines say, must include one serving each of meat, milk and grain and two servings of fruit or vegetables. Those guidelines apply to home-packed lunches as well as cafeteria meals.
The Carolina Journal reported that the girl and her mother wish to remain anonymous to avoid public scrutiny, but she did write to her state representative to complain about it.
“I don’t feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home,” the mother wrote in a complaint to her state representative, Republican G.L. Pridgen of Robeson County.
“What got me so mad is, number one, don’t tell my kid I’m not packing her lunch box properly,” the girl’s mother told a reporter. “I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn’t really care for vegetables.”
The story has sparked national outrage against bureaucrats and politicians who aim to force food standards and health initiatives into place through legislation and regulatory action. North Carolina Republican Party spokesman Rob Lockwood told The Daily Caller it’s the latest example of why government “intrusion” isn’t helping anyone.
“More parental inclusion, less government intrusion would go a long way to solving our nation’s woes,” Lockwood said in an email. “Today is not a strong day for big-government, nanny-state enthusiasts.”