“Put Down the Cupcake: New Ban Hits School Bake Sales”

by Walter Olson on August 4, 2014

Remember when a lot of us predicted this would happen? And advocates were dismissive? WSJ reportage:

A federal law that aims to curb childhood obesity means that, in dozens of states, bake sales must adhere to nutrition requirements that could replace cupcakes and brownies with fruit cups and granola bars. … The restrictions that took effect in July stem from the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act championed by first lady Michelle Obama and her “Let’s Move!” campaign. …

[The law] allowed for “infrequent” fundraisers, and states were allowed to decide how many bake sales they would have that didn’t meet nutrition standards. …

While about half the states have taken advantage of exceptions, given the political pressure, the trend is toward narrowing or eliminating them. Texas, for example, has done away with a former variance that allowed three fundraisers a year selling forbidden foods. Among the most drearily predictable results: schools are shifting more toward pre-portioned processed food, which has standardized calorie and nutrition content, and avoiding the homemade and informal.

P.S. Meanwhile, a Washington Post article suggests that because of the narrowing exceptions noted above, because kids can still distribute “order forms for sweets such as Girl Scout cookies” (as opposed to the cookies themselves) during school hours, because after-hours athletic events and the like aren’t covered, and so forth, there really is no story here and critics are being unreasonable.

{ 8 comments }

1 John Fembup 08.04.14 at 9:27 am

“states were allowed to decide how many bake sales they would have that didn’t meet nutrition standards”

I think I recognize this statement.

As I recall, it is somewhere in The Federalist #62, James Madison. Yeh, that must be it.

2 Michael Rhote 08.04.14 at 12:49 pm

Thank goodness, it’s about time parents get hit with a cluestick about how to feed their children. We’ve waited 150 years for the “free market” to fix the problem of nutrition in America, and it has failed, making things even worse. Let’s try something different.

“Why are you trying to tell me what to feed my children?”

Because you refuse to take responsibility for providing a nutritious diet, that’s why. If you were doing a reasonably good job then we wouldn’t bother.

3 common sense 08.04.14 at 4:17 pm

right michael, one or two bake sales that don’t meet the government’s foolproof standards will make all the difference in the world between healthy people who live forever and obese baboons. just wait, first school bake sales, then well obviously adults can’t make good choices so the government will step in, tell you how much to eat and what to eat and to ensure it, proper proportions will be delivered to you. anything tasting good will be tested for like drugs and alcohol and you will be jailed until your diet is corrected. yes, i know my sarcasm dial is set on high, but really, brave new world and the giver and 1984 were NOT instruction manuals.

4 Hugo S Cunningham 08.04.14 at 8:41 pm

@michael–
We’ve had fattening foods for decades, but the obesity epidemic is more recent. It reflects a lack of exercise, caused by helicopter parents afraid to let their kids walk home from school or play outside, and schools afraid to let kids run around at recess. Check out
http://www.freerangekids.com/

5 Shtetl G 08.05.14 at 10:35 am

I’m with wise Michael on this. Of course banning of bake sales in not nearly enough. This is clearly a failure of the “free market”. I would recommend local nutrition counsels be set up in every community with the authority to to perform random home inspections to ensure that our children are being fed the correct food. First they would issue fines and remove the offending food. Then child confiscation and jail time would follow. I would not ban sweet fatty foods but I would regulate them. I would set up BMI testing at the super markets to make sure only healthy people could buy them. I would also set up monthly quotas even for healthy people (of course the over weight would be banned from purchasing them).

This is my modest proposal for the children, of course. You don’t hate the children do you? If you love the children then we could all give up a little of our “freedom”.

6 D 08.05.14 at 1:18 pm

John Fenbup, is this the part you were referring to?
“Another advantage accruing from this ingredient in the constitution of the Senate is, the additional impediment it must prove against improper acts of legislation. No law or resolution can now be passed without the concurrence, first, of a majority of the people, and then, of a majority of the States.”

The closing paragraphs, the last half dozen are also are great read.

7 John Fembup 08.05.14 at 2:10 pm

D, yeah #62 is terrific but I was just spoofing.

However, the paragraph you quote does remind me what a mistake I think the 17th Amendment was . . . is.

8 David C 08.06.14 at 11:42 am

Because you refuse to take responsibility for providing a nutritious diet, that’s why. If you were doing a reasonably good job then we wouldn’t bother.

So you know what everyone here is feeding their kids? You think that not one of us is feeding their kids correctly?

And why does the federal government have to be involved? Where in the Constitution does it say they are responsible for education OR nutrition? The federal law provides that the states can have some exceptions – but why can’t the states just pass their own laws?

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