Imagine how much waste is going on in the entire nation’s public schools!
EAG News reports, “Michelle O’s lunch rules cost AR school district $1 million in wasted food.”
Two Arkansas school districts estimate students throw away more than $1 million in food annually, mostly because of federal school food regulations championed by first lady Michelle Obama.
The problem is among a host of issues tied to the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act and the National School Lunch Program that are plaguing school districts across the country, driving down lunchroom sales by convincing students bring food from home.
“Depending on the item that we’re having, a lot of kids haven’t quite gone to the whole grain yet, and so a lot of times the whole grain items will go into the trash, salad, but if it’s spaghetti, fresh fruits, stuff like that they tend to eat it all,” Pulaski County student nutrition director Regina English told KATV.
English estimates the district spends about $4 million each year on school food, and about $1 million worth goes in the garbage. The nearby Little Rock School District reportedly spends roughly $1.5 million each year on school food and students trash about $35,000 worth, officials told the news site.
That means that in one district a quarter of the food ends up uneaten in the trash. I’m not sure we can say that it is a waste since it is debatable that the food was edible. A lot of students don’t think so.
In Arkansas, some of the biggest issues have been the tight thresholds for salt and whole grains.
“Whole grain is a problem … you know we’ve done it for about three to four years now, and we have kind of tried to jump above the curve and start it early, but the kids just don’t take the brown bread …. Is what they call it … we don’t like the brown bread,” English said.
“The salt, you know, we have so many sodium restrictions right now that we can’t put salt in anything,” she added.
Even if the food is good for them, what good does it do the students if they don’t eat it?
National estimates peg increased school food waste tied to the federal regulations at more than $1 billion. The staggering sum is all the more eye opening considering the fact that more than 1.4 million public school students have dropped out of the National School Lunch Program since the regulations were imposed on schools in 2012.
This lunch program is a total failure both financially and nutritionally even if Michelle Obama is wiser than the rest of us about what students should eat.
And I doubt she is all that wise.