A Public School Can Ban Oreos and Peanut Butter, but 6-Year-Old Meat is Okay

We reported the other day about a five-year-old who was prohibited from eating the Oreos her mom packed in her lunch. The cookies were confiscated from the child whose lunch also consisted of a ham and cheese sandwich and string cheese. A school official sent a note home to the child’s parents, notifying them that the Oreos were not “healthy,” and that since it was a public school setting, they’ve got nutritional rules that all parents must abide by when packing their kids’ lunches.

(On a separate note, it doesn’t make sense to describe food as being “healthy” or “unhealthy,” unless you’re actually referring to the food’s wellbeing. I think what they mean is “healthful” and “unhealthful.” Those words refer to the effect the food has on the person’s wellbeing. In other words, healthful food is food that’s good for you. Healthy food is…food that’s in good health? Maybe these school officials should stop pretending to be diet and nutrition experts and instead focus a little more on grammar and diction.)

In addition to banning cookie snacks, peanut butter was listed as an “unhealthy” snack and was therefore also prohibited from student lunches. And if potatoes are packed in a lunch, there must also be bread along with them. (I still don’t get that one.)

These school officials view themselves as diet and nutrition experts. But we’ve all heard the stories and seen the pictures of public school cafeteria food. You know, the “healthy” rotting fruits and vegetables and mystery meat. The latest school food news comes from a Tennessee school district that served 6-year-old pork to students. I can just smell the freezer burn. Here’s EAG News:

Meat dating to the year of President Obama’s first inauguration was served to students in some Hawkins County, Tennessee schools last week.

Hawkins County Commissioner Michael Herrell was alerted after a cafeteria worker sent him a photo of the pork roast they used for school meals was from 2009.

The 6-year-old meat had been frozen and then was thawed for meal preparation, according to WCYB.

Herrell said the photo was taken at Joseph Rogers Primary School where the staff decided not to serve the meat. However, it was served at other schools.

Cherokee Comprehensive High School, for example, served the pork after a debate.

According to Herrell, the woman at Cherokee High who was concerned about it said the meat smelled so bad they made gravy to put over it to give it a better smell and taste, WBIR reported.

“I’m disappointed the school system let this happen,” said Herrell, who is also a parent. “To me, if we’ve got meat that old, I don’t understand why.”

Director of Schools Steve Starnes learned about the issue on April 23rd and said that the meat passed their tests.

Starnes said, “There were some meats with dates of 2009, 10, 11 in the freezer. Our child nutrition supervisor had the cafeteria managers look at the meat, do the tests, and see if it was OK. The decision was made to serve it.”

“If you see on the USDA website, it’s safe indefinitely, just like anything you check it,” according to Starnes.

However, WCYB reports that, according to USDA guidelines, uncooked meat should be frozen only up to 12 months.

While so far there are no reported illnesses tied to the meat, the Board of Education Chair says they’re not sure how many of the more than 7,000 students in the district actually ate the outdated pork.

They had to smother the stuff in gravy just to cover up the foul smell. And they still served it.

These same people would confiscate a kid’s peanut butter, because it’s “unhealthy,” but they’d serve old, freezer-burned meat that had a stench that had to be covered up with gravy.

A little off topic, but isn’t it a little odd that public schools are starting sex education for younger and younger students, and the argument in support of it is that “well, they’re going to do it anyway.” They wouldn’t dare tell kids that it’s wrong to engage in such behavior at their young age. They wouldn’t want to be judgmental or preachy. They want kids to be able to make their own decisions. If they want to have sex at 12, they should be allowed to as long they’re comfortable with it. And if a pregnancy results, we should obviously allow the young mother to abort the baby and not even have to tell her parents she did it. It’s not any of their business anyway. She should be allowed to make her own choices with her own body without interference from her parents.

But Oreos and peanut butter? That’s anathema that no one should be allowed to put in his body. (Six-year-old meat is fine though.)