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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Why are the food police inspecting school lunches?

By February 15, 2012

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It makes a great story - or at least a great headline:

  • Donuts for Lunch at School - Photo by Influx Productions/Getty ImagesFood Inspector Confiscates Kid's Homemade Lunch
  • Preschooler's lunch rejected by official
  • Food police reject preschooler's homemade lunch... in favour of chicken nuggets
  • Food police confiscate 4-year old's lunch, bill parents
  • Preschooler's Homemade Lunch Confiscated by Food Police
  • Nanny state report: NC school officials confiscate preschooler's homemade lunch
  • Flunking lunch in preschool
  • State Agent Tells Preschooler She Can't Eat Home-packed Lunch
  • My Kid's Lunch Is None of the Government's Business
  • The Lunch Nazis Are Coming! No, They're Here.

So what happened? A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School in Raeford, North Carolina was told that her home-packed lunch with a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice was not a healthy lunch. She was given a tray lunch from the cafeteria instead, but just ate three chicken nuggets.

This all occurred because of a rule in North Carolina to help children in child care meet "minimum nutritional requirements" and comply with Meal Patterns for Children in Child Care standards.

These minimum nutritional requirements state that lunch should consist of at least four components (out of these five choices):

  • milk
  • 2 or more fruits or vegetables, which can include a serving of 100% fruit juice
  • a meat or meat alternative, including alternate protein products (cheese, eggs, beans, peanut butter, nuts, seeds, yogurt, etc.)
  • a bread or bread alternative, including muffins, cereal, pasta, etc.

Now since the preschooler in the article had a serving of meat (turkey), bread, and two servings of fruit (the banana and the apple juice), then she met the minimum nutritional requirements and should not have been given a tray lunch. And even if she had been missing something, the Food From Home rule is not that you replace the whole lunch, but rather that they "must provide additional food necessary to meet those requirements."

So the whole story is based on a mistake that was made by the school or state employee and not because of how the program is supposed to work. The "food police" aren't inspecting school lunches to create a nanny state. They are trying to help make sure preschoolers get a minimum level of nutrition.

North Carolina has some of the highest obesity rates in the country. Whether it is to make sure preschoolers learn to eat healthier or just meet minimum nutritional requirements, should we really target a program that might help them grow and avoid becoming overweight?

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February 15, 2012 at 12:35 pm
(1) danz11 says:

So, workers are inspecting and confiscating preschool lunches?! Mistakenly at that??! This child’s parents should be outraged! This is absolutely ridiculous. I know of some budget cuts that can be made to save the schools some money- ELIMINATE the lunch police! Focus on educating these kids. No wonder we are failing on the global education stage. I see we are more worried about if our kids are fat, than if they can read. Typical.

February 15, 2012 at 12:52 pm
(2) Vincent Iannelli, MD says:

“I see we are more worried about if our kids are fat, than if they can read.”

Making sure kids are meeting minimum nutritional requirements is more than just making sure that they are not getting fat. It is also about getting enough to eat.

If they are not getting a nutritious meal, they will likely not learn well.

And preventing obesity in preschool will likely save money down the road.

People are all up in arms about this program, but they have no idea how many times kids have actually had a lunch fail to meet the minimum requirements, how it went when kids who didn’t meet the requirements got extra food, or what the long term effects will be.

February 15, 2012 at 1:08 pm
(3) Andrea says:

If West Hoke’s school lunches are anythng like my kids had, then the school is wasting their money, school lunches are awful & far from nutriious. Chicken tenders are terrible for you, full of fat & processed meat. School should monitor how much of the school lunch children are eating – probably woud receive an “F”

February 15, 2012 at 1:11 pm
(4) Carly says:

This is the most outrageous thing I have ever heard and if I was this child’s mother I would be absolutely livid! So a tray of processed, fried, breaded chicken nuggets is better for a preschooler than a nutritious meal prepared at home?? Are you kidding me?? Yet another example of the ever-expanding oppressive hand of our government. If I want to send my child to school with a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts for lunch…that is my choice because I am the parent!! The fact that this child had a healthy lunch is not the issue…the issue is that we have allowed this type of extreme government intrusiveness to happen in our schools and to our children.

Get your kids out of government-run, public schools…NOW!!!!!

February 15, 2012 at 1:18 pm
(5) michael Yonk says:

Yes, we should target these kinds of programs. Having someone from OUR government, inspecting lunches for nutritional value. Before you know it, OUR government is going to require everyone to purchase their lunches from the schools. They are not trying to create a nanny state, they are refining the nanny state they have already created. Why would anyone want the school system to raise their children? Are we void of personal responsibility, or is it just easier to pass it on to OUR government. Why have personal responsibility, when OUR government will do it for us?

February 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm
(6) Vincent Iannelli, MD says:

“If I want to send my child to school with a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts for lunchthat is my choice because I am the parent!”

And if a few of them are jelly filled donuts and you give him a carton of milk or some apple juice to help get them all down, then you still might meet the MINIMUM requirements.

Even if you didn’t, the rule doesn’t seem to say that they would take away your child’s donuts…

February 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm
(7) Vincent Iannelli, MD says:

“Are we void of personal responsibility, or is it just easier to pass it on to OUR government.”

North Carolina is ranked 11th in the nation for childhood obesity with 31 percent of 2-5 year-olds classified as overweight or obese.

It doesn’t sound like they started this program just get people riled up.

February 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm
(8) Peter Citera says:

Dr. Ianelli:

You are taking a very machiavellian stance here. Essentially what you’re saying is that it’s OK for a government entity to take away the most basic of freedoms – the freedom to feed our children what WE, as parents, choose – simply because the intentions are good. So, the end justifies the means, eh? Sorry, not with me. The fact that you are so oblivious as to why this might, just MAYBE, tick off some people baffles me. Where does this blatant abuse of police power end? What other freedoms can they strip from us in the name of caring? Do our rights no longer matter because “experts” like you have decreed from your ivory towers that the unwashed masses obviously have no clue how to take care of the lives we have chosen to bring into this world? Take off the blinders and look at both sides of the issue.

I’m glad you’re an “expert”. I’m glad you went to medical school and received a degree. I’m really happy that you’ve authored books that purport to tell me how I should raise my child. That’s all fine and good. However, what you (and the various alphabet-soup agencies that you “experts” shill for on a regular basis) do NOT have the right to do is to start poking around in my child’s lunch.

Just remember this, Doctor – “healthier choices” are not “choices” when the guys in jackboots can march in and force them upon you. Maybe you should try a stint in the real world, sir, before you continue to exuse blatant abuses of power as a simple “mistake.” The only mistake here is that we as a Country have been lulled into such complacency that we’ve allowed it to get to the point where the situation described in this story can actually happen. Maybe you could write a book on it.

February 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm
(9) amy higginbotham says:

i have a very hard time with the first lady who can’t even tell the truth to the country, tell me what i can and cannot feed my child. this program was instituted by the first lady and this is how it ends up. this government had no right to butt into the rights of parents and how they raise their child. if the government wants to tell me what to do then i have a long list of expenses physically and emotionally that they can pay for then they can raise my child not till then.

February 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm
(10) Tim Stewart says:

The statement by Dr. Iannelli, “The “food police” aren’t inspecting school lunches to create a nanny state. They are trying to help make sure preschoolers get a minimum level of nutrition” is not correct. THEY ARE INSPECTING LUNCHES otherwise how would they know what the preschooler had for lunch or even know if the lunch met their minimum nutritional value.
The doctor, who has surrendered the preschooler’s freedom of choice, should know everyone of those preschoolers has different metabolism, wants, and needs of various food substances. Does this program assess each preschooler’s health records? …NO IT DOESN’T! Yes, we need to eliminate this program or fund the money to educating them because we obviously need it. If you can find the book try reading “How or Why children fail.” This book describes a food study they did with lunches. A real eye opener. The study chose a buffet style lunch. They found kids will naturally gravitate toward food their body needs. One child ate more grapefruit, oranges, and strawberries because, they later found out, he had scurvy.
Do some research and stop carrying the torch for this stupid administration’s ideology. Man, wake up and see what is going on here.

February 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm
(11) Trevor says:

As a medical professional, under what circumstances can you force your patients to comply with even the most rudimentary behaviors? None.

As a pediatrician, what would be the result if you treated a child against their parents’ wishes? In terms of diet and exercise, do you have any more authority other than to advise parents of the risks associated with poor diet and lack of exercise? Can you forcibly make a child eat well and go outside and play?

How, then, can you justify the government sending agents into a pre-school to do just that? How can you not find this whole episode horrifying with your understanding of the doctor-patient relationship?

February 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm
(12) diane munkirs says:

If we stand for this, we will stand for anything. Get the government out of our lives. Are you kidding me!!!!!!!

February 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm
(13) Stacy says:

PARENTS have the right to feed their kids WHATEVER they want. We don’t need the GOVERNMENT telling us what and how to eat. NANNY STATE NANNY STATE NANNY STATE

February 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm
(14) Vincent Iannelli, MD says:

“Essentially what youre saying is that its OK for a government entity to take away the most basic of freedoms the freedom to feed our children what WE, as parents, choose simply because the intentions are good.”

Giving a child an apple and a carton of milk because he showed up to school with a candy bar in his lunch box is not the same thing as taking away his candy bar and forcing him to eat the apple and drink the carton of milk.

February 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm
(15) Steve says:

I do not feel this was a mistake by the administration as the article implies and they experts seem to agree. At 48 years of age, I am healthy and as a child ate a balance of food , fruits, gains, meats, ice cream ( the real kind not light or low cal) vegetables, cookies with trans fats. I also played at the park, drank out of hose that may have contained lead etc. I am not against healthy food habits and getting rid of obesity but this action by the food police at West Hoke Elementary school in Raeford North Carolina is wrong on so many levels rather than police, educate oh wait the educational system does not do that.

February 15, 2012 at 5:02 pm
(16) Vincent Iannelli, MD says:

“i have a very hard time with the first lady who cant even tell the truth to the country, tell me what i can and cannot feed my child. this program was instituted by the first lady and this is how it ends up.”

This is actually a state program.

First Lady Michelle Obama has done some wonderful things to improve the nutrition and health of children and school lunches, such as:

Chefs Move to Schools
MyPlate for Kids

February 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm
(17) GEORGE says:

The food police are right the child should be handcuffed, locked up and throw away the key ( much better food in prison). The parents as well locked up for life, my goodness how dare them sending an innocent child to preschool with a sandwich and fruit, OR, if I am wrong , the food cop should be arrested and fired.


February 15, 2012 at 7:40 pm
(18) Kelso says:

Dr. Iannelli said, “Giving a child an apple and a carton of milk because he showed up to school with a candy bar in his lunch box is not the same thing as taking away his candy bar and forcing him to eat the apple and drink the carton of milk.”
So why do it at all? Seems to be at odds with your statement from the story: “They are trying to help make sure preschoolers get a minimum level of nutrition.” How else can you “make sure” unless you force it upon them?
That old lefty slogan that the government should stay out of our bedrooms should apply to our kitchens too.
Teach! Don’t overreach!

February 15, 2012 at 8:15 pm
(19) Vincent Iannelli, MD says:

“So why do it at all? ”

Because the child might eat it and it sets a good example.

I interpret the “help make sure they get a minimum level of nutrition” as having the opportunity to eat a healthy lunch, not making sure that they left the lunch room with an appropriate number of healthy calories in their stomach.

February 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm
(20) Terp says:

This is a form of bullying plain and simple. A preschooler, so young and now probably scared to take her lunch because someone decided they were big enough and knew better than her mom. How dare we. Doing this will not slow down obesity, it will however create fear, resentment and probably a few kids rebellious enough to throw the government food in the trash instead of eating it.

February 15, 2012 at 9:51 pm
(21) Kelso says:

“I interpret the help make sure they get a minimum level of nutrition as having the opportunity to eat a healthy lunch”

They do have an opportunity – the school provides a luinch, they choose to bring their own. If the governement told you to prescribe some “better” medicine that you did not agree with, are you going to call it an opportunity?

February 16, 2012 at 12:08 am
(22) jxjipper says:

Die Fahne hoch! Die Reihen fest geschlossen!
Demokrat marschiert mit ruhig, festem Schritt.
Kam’raden, die Reppublikanert und Reaktion erschossen,
Marschier’n im Geist in unser’n Reihen mit.

Die Strae frei den braunen Batallionen.
Die Strae frei dem Liberalisch!
Es schau’n aufs Hakenkreuz voll Hoffnung schon Millionen.
Der Tag fr Freiheit und fr Brot bricht an!

Zum letzten Mal wird Sturmalarm geblasen!
Zum Kampfe steh’n wir alle schon bereit!
Bald flattern Obamafahnen ber alle Straen.
Die Knechtschaft dauert nur noch kurze Zeit!

Die Fahne hoch! Die Reihen fest geschlossen!
Obamasturmtroopen marschiert mit ruhig-festem Schritt.
Kameraden, die Reppublicakanert und Reaktion erschossen,
Marschieren im Geist in unseren Reihen mit.

This is die Ende Speil von dieser Regierung !

February 16, 2012 at 1:06 am
(23) jayhawk says:

This is not a state thing. The schools are forced into this kind of crap because they accept federal funds. Look up the strings attached to the school lunch program. You will really be pissed

February 16, 2012 at 2:57 am
(24) megin says:

If it was an obesity issue as you claim and Mrs Obama claims then why aren’t health officials, governments and schools increasing the amount of playtime, exercise on the playground and gym? Where have all the games gone? and swings? Hog wash its about making kids healthy. Wondering if it has to do with money and lunch program? Federal funds not the interest of the children I think you are right jayhawk just how much federal funds do state schools get. People are not stupid they can see it with their own eyes Dr. Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

February 16, 2012 at 5:16 am
(25) David says:

Open your eyes. This is not about nutrition. This is about government intervention and the subtle training of our children. This is a Gestapo move and a probable violation of several tenents of constitutional law most notably the fourth amendment. Check search and siezure without probable cause, Check freedom of choice, Check warrantless search, Check invasion of privacy, Check racketeering, Check state sponsored terrorism – when the state persists in actions that terrorize the population, Check . What amazes me is the principal of the school who did not deny the action taken, does not condone the action taken,and does not provide a reasonable account for the actions taken. The news here in NC is running the on camera interview now.

The requirement of probable cause for a Search and Seizure can be found in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states:

the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be searched

February 16, 2012 at 8:59 am
(26) philly bot says:

Hey people government is over reaching its usefulness and volatating the constition. This school and its Nazi like employees need to the parents raise their kids as they see fit and according to their means this action has to stop and people have chy7allenge this any way they see fit

February 16, 2012 at 9:01 am
(27) Amy says:

How don’t care how it happened. This is just another abuse by Gov’t employees and a waste of our tax dollars. Don’t want kids to be fat – there’s this thing called recess and exercise.

But if you want to continue to do this, I think that it should be part of the program that all school employees must be at ideal weights for their height – practice what you preach.

I can just see it, a big fat teacher inspecting the kids lunchbox, telling her you can’t have that turkey sandwich.

February 16, 2012 at 10:25 am
(28) Terrie says:

Since when is fried chicken nuggets, and I use that term loosely because we all know what goes into processed “chicken” nuggets, better than a home made sandwich? The news this morning said they only supplement, well that’s not what happened in this story. The child’s lunch was taken and was forced to eat the school lunch. They didn’t say hey, your lunch is missing something, here’s some milk. What if the child has a milk allergy and the lunch was made to accommodate for that? So, the lunch police say her honey, have some milk, it’s the law, who cares if you have a food allergy…

Why don’t you pay this much attention to the children in school who are being bullied, or being abused at home??? Prioritize you idiots!

February 16, 2012 at 10:31 am
(29) Shelley says:

Here is another point the good doctor and government officials are missing. A child learns his or her tastes in food from what is served at home for the first five years. My kids wouldn’t touch a chicken nugget if you paid them. They would, however, eat a turkey sandwich. So what good does it do to give a child a plate full of food they won’t eat? I’ll tell you. It makes the liberals feel good. It makes them feel smug and warm and fuzzy as if they’ve done their good deed for the day. It doesn’t do a damn thing for the child…which is ok because that wasn’t really the point.
.Liberals are all about feelings which is the reason why they can’t think. They run on emotions not logic. Childhood obesity is only the symptom of a greater problem….the dependency on government that now half of our population is engaged in. There is a purposeful usurping of personal responsibility by our government going on in this country and people have become so ignorant and lazy that they don’t know or don’t care about feeding their kids nutritious food….or maybe they just can’t afford it because their tax burden is so high. In any case, school lunches are full of processed crap and it doesn’t matter how a lunch fits the federal requirement, by the time they get done soaking those raw vegetables and fruits in antibacterials, microwaving that meat that’s full of hormones and antibiotics, frying that food in commercial grade oils (if it’s not coconut oil or olive oil it’s bad for you) that government approved lunch isn’t fit for pigs much less kids. Those of us who actually KNOW something about nutrition—not just the 6 credit hours doctors get in med school—know that school lunches are hardly a model for it….but you can’t tell a liberal that because he thinks he already knows more than you do. That’s why he works for the government. The private sector won’t put up with him.

February 16, 2012 at 10:37 am
(30) Shelley says:

And another thing….in those surveys where they find out about childhood obesity….how many of those obese kids are on the free breakfast, free lunch…and now free dinner (in some states) program? How many of those obese kids are on welfare? Hmmm…this woman obviously wasn’t because she cared enough to pack a lunch. I would be really interested to see how much state sponsored laziness has increased the obesity rate in kids. Just something to think about.

February 16, 2012 at 10:38 am
(31) Freedom first! says:

I would be mad as bleep if this were my child. I raise my children as I SEE FIT, not how the government tells me to. What if my child were allergic to milk or hated it and I supplemented otherwise? Does the government have their all knowing eyes on each and everything I’ve given to my child? It’s close, but no, they do not know the entire story. Because the school’s lunch program is partially state and federally run, have at it on revising what is offered. KEEP YOUR HANDS off what I choose to send for my child. They do not know me, do not know my child and certainly cannot EVER know what is best for him/her. Offering choices is just that…a choice. NOT A MANDATE. Life is about choices and if I choose to teach my child other than the government sees fit, that is my problem and my child’s, yes later down the road; each parent has this right and while government and doctors can make suggestions and guidelines, that is as far as it goes. Don’t take this as I’m for high fat and unhealthy meals. This goes beyond me feeding and teaching my children to eat healthy. This is taking away freedom and I will not stand for it. And Dr. I am very glad that you are not my childrens pediatrician. I CHOOSE WHAT IS BEST FOR MY CHILD, not YOU, not THE GOVERNMENT. You and the government are in positions of offering suggestions and advice. Not mandating it or changing something without my knowledge or permission.

February 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm
(32) lib says:

It’s none of the government’s business what’s in kids’ lunches. It’s none of the governments business whether people are fat or not. Big government isn’t coming. It’s here and it’s gonna make you do what it wants you to do BECAUSE IT KNOWS BEST WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU!!!!

February 16, 2012 at 3:09 pm
(33) Vincent Iannelli, MD says:

As suspected, everyone will be very happy to know that the initial story was indeed based on a mistake at the school.

According to the Deputy Director of the Division of Child Development and Early Education, in the confusion of a loud cafeteria, the child was sent through the lunch line with other students, instead of just being seated with kids that had brought their lunch from home.

February 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm
(34) lib says:

There shouldn’t be any inspection of children’s lunches brought from home. Such lunches should be up to the parent, not the school and certainly no governmental department in Washington. It seems clear that this child was told her lunch, the one her family gave her, was deficient, and she was given nuggets the school approved of instead. This is big government intrusion upon freedom at it’s biggest and baddest. Government needs to stay out of our lunchboxes!

February 16, 2012 at 11:23 pm
(35) pearl says:

Yeah, I think we should REALLY TARGET this program. If parents can’t be trusted to take care of their children, then I suppose some illiterate moron should be hired to feed our kids JUNK FOOD instead of the healthy lunch they brought. I wonder what this nonsense is going to cost the taxpayers?
Any person defending this program must be a socialist, believing that the state can do no wrong. Real people with children know that the state usually does nothing right!

February 17, 2012 at 10:53 am
(36) Melissa says:

Why is North Carolina employing such stupid state agents to inspect children’s lunches? At taxpayers’ expense! For goodness sakes, fire her and hire someone who can recognize a healthy lunch when they see one. I hope that someone makes that state agent feel as embarrassed and ashamed as that preschooler must have felt. At the very least, she should apologize to the child before she attends nutrition class.

February 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm
(37) Jean says:

I wonder what would have happened if the food the school told the little girl to eat made her sick because she was allergic to it. I don’t think they checked to see if she had any allergies.

This sounds like the Nazi police. Keep the government out of our lives. Our parents did a great job many years ago without the help (?) of the government.

February 17, 2012 at 3:34 pm
(38) Jerry says:

Liberals don’t understand this stuff until it happens to them. What if someone went up to the good doctor and yanked away his briefcase and started going through it…”for his own good” ?

But I’m an adult..he’d say. So was the parent that made that lunch. Freedom will always be more precious than nutrition.. especially when the culprit is a turkey sandwich for cryin out loud. Chicken nuggets over a turkey sandwich? You don’t have to be a doctor to know how rediculous that is.

Vincent, you need to check the nutritional value of the coolaid you’ve been chugging. I can tell by your defense of the situation that you may even be pushing around an IV full of it. No one should expect you to see the light though. 4 years of coolaid messes up a lot of people and you’ve been there long enough to od.

February 18, 2012 at 12:53 am
(39) Karen says:

Even if the program has the best of intentions by trying to assert that all lunches meet a minimum nutritional requirement, I think they are way off base. Who in their right mind takes away a turkey sandwich and banana and replaces it with chicken nuggets? When they do this, they are promoting unhealthy eating habits. Again, get government out of what they don’t belong in.

February 18, 2012 at 8:04 am
(40) Vincent Iannelli, MD says:

Don’t worry, I get where you guys are coming from:

First they came for the chocolate milk,
and I didn’t speak out because my child is lactose intolerant.

Then they came for the apple juice,
and I didn’t speak out because my child likes to drink ice tea.

Then they came for the donuts,
and I didn’t speak out because who eats donuts for lunch?

Then they came for the french fries,
and there was no one left to speak out because all of the kids were outside playing since they had so much energy from their improved diets.

February 18, 2012 at 10:14 am
(41) semmelweis says:

“The “food police” aren’t inspecting school lunches to create a nanny state.”
You, Dr. Iannelli, and they (the food police) would never say so, of course. You are soooo smart, so much smarter than the average parent, and therefore everybody should do exactly as you say.
Me? I am just a dummy and must be coerced into doing exactly as you say, the moment you say it. That is the definition of the Nanny State. However, just suppose for a moment, that , in fact, I might be smarter than you. Will you do exactly as I say, the moment I say it? No, I didn’t think so. By the way, I graduated from a better medical school than you did, had better grades, published more important research than you and rose to a much higher academic rank than you. How do I know that? Google is a wonderful tool. So are you,.

February 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm
(42) Daniel Rivas says:

Sorry Doc. You can’t cure ignorance. These are good examples of why our country is going down the tubes. They probably believe that they should have a right to raise an ignorant child too. Critical thinking has been trumped by self-centered madness.

February 18, 2012 at 10:31 pm
(43) Nancy Mades says:

“Dont worry, I get where you guys are coming from:

First they came for the chocolate milk,
and I didnt speak out because my child is lactose intolerant.

Then they came for the apple juice,
and I didnt speak out because my child likes to drink ice tea.

Then they came for the donuts,
and I didnt speak out because who eats donuts for lunch?

Then they came for the french fries,
and there was no one left to speak out because all of the kids were outside playing since they had so much energy from their improved diets.”

Your hubris does not negate the fundamental truth that it is NOT the job of government to override a parent’s food choices. It doesn’t matter whether the school official replaced the lunch or “offered” the supposedly missing nutritional pieces. It’s not your business or the government’s business if the childhood obesity rate in North Carolina grows to 100%. It’s the responsibility of the parents. Period.

February 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm
(44) Judy H. says:

Not only are chicken nuggets greasy and contain additives, but many children could be allergic to something in the “substitute” lunches. I am allergic to soy, which the nuggests probably contain in the frying oil or ingredients. Some children have a milk allergy and shouldn’t be forced to drink milk in that case. The child’s home-provided lunch was healthy and appropriate. While it’s fine to focus on a student whose parent can’t afford a better lunch, … chicken nuggets? Really? Very unhealthy choice. Any kind of cafeteria inspection should be meant for those who really need help, not to be in control of those who don’t need help.

February 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm
(45) frank says:

I’ve read a few articles and blogs about this story. It’s so full of holes, making it difficult to filter out the BS from the truth.

Case in point. Every article that I’ve read says the that little girl’s bag lunch was taken away and “dumped”. I read that as being thrown in the trash. So how was it that the girl’s parents knew that she had been “forced” to eat the school lunch? The articles all say that the parents found out when the little girl brought home the uneaten lunch that was presumably thrown away. HUH??!?!?!??!

Second point. The person who “took” away the girl’s lunch has been described as a food police, state inspector, and finally a teacher. So which is it? Or perhaps she’s collecting three paychecks.

It seems that journalists (and bloggers) can’t get the facts straight. Or perhaps they choose to omit key pieces of information to further their own agendas.

As for the actual, I don’t have a fully formed opinion on the subject. I like to say that parents should be responsible and the schools/state should stay out of it. But I’ve seen what some parents feed their kids at home. Sometimes, a school lunch is the only chance these kids get to eat a healthy meal.

February 20, 2012 at 7:29 pm
(46) Susan Pacillo says:

Until today I had not heard of this insanity. I personally witnessed this today when I went to pick up a friends child from the Boys and Girls Club daycare program. They were having ” lunch” in their room. I waited while the child finished. Their lunch was a hotdog and tater tots, a apple and milk.

Another child had a lunch on the table that the teacher said they could not eat It was a nicely packed home lunch in a clear container. I could see apples, cheese and a sandwich.

Another person came in who appeared to be the boss, and told the teacher the rules are there is to be no outside food. I went out into the hall to wait for my little friend and when the boss came out I asked her why that child couldn’t eat that lunch. She said “our new policy is no outside food. We can not be sure it follows the USDA guidelines.”

That nasty hotdog and greasy tatertots follow USDA guidelines? Seriously?

My children are all grown up. I do not have grandchildren yet. But I can tell you this, if that was my child and they were not allowed to eat the nutritious lunch that I had packed and was forced to eat that GARBAGE, a whole bunch of people would be hearing from me. In fact they are going to hear from me anyway.

February 20, 2012 at 11:17 pm
(47) frank1906 says:

Dear Doc.

It sounds like you have the right intentions, And yes something should be done if q kid is sent to school with a box of just donuts. But this was a very healthy lunch, and have we forgoten that cheese is made from milk. One slice of good american cheese is th same as 6oz of milk… so all food groups were covered. If you want a police state there are many countries that already offer that.. so live there

February 21, 2012 at 12:48 am
(48) Bob says:

All the folks in high dudgeons about the “food police” are in the term favored by right-wing know-it-all social critics, sheeple. Your are being fed (you see what I did there) a line of malarky designed to inflame the Randian portions of your brain. You are believing the selectively edited and distorted effluvium of right wing talk radio. You are such independent thinkers. NOT.

February 21, 2012 at 1:39 am
(49) sten41 says:

Has anyone noticed that that from all the comments Mr. Iannelli has not responded about the fact that it is not the food content in question but the fact that there is someone checking the food?

That is the issue.

The only thing I can assume is the Mr Iannelli is in complete agreement that this type of action is perfectly ok. For the health of the child of course.

I can assume Mr Iannelli would be perfectly ok with children being taken away from their parents if the child was obese. As, obviously, the child is obese and therefore not being taken care of.

I can assume Mr Iannelli would be just fine with children being raised by the state. As the experts that the state has hired knows more about raising children than the sperm and ovary donor.

Mr Iannelli, where exactly is the line the governement is not allowed to cross when it comes to my decisions as a parent? Can I give my children a fruit shake, how about chocolate milk, what about whole grain wheat bread? Oh, thats right, my son has celiac disease. He can’t have that wheat. What about pancakes? Sure can as long as it doesn’t have gluten in it.

Exactly how many lunch programs out there are gluten free?

If I did send my son to school he would have to pack his lunch. And I damn well do not want anyone else but myself or my wife giving my son alternative food.

My point, and a lot of others is


February 21, 2012 at 1:48 am
(50) Jared says:


What are you talking about. I believe I read the article from another source and found Mr Iannelli’s article after a quick search. I did not hear about this from any sides radio talk show host.

From the article I read, they referred to a person who was checking childrens lunches to help make sure they get a minimum level of nutrition. That type of checking is policing. Because they are policing food one can call it “food police”

So, if you do not have anything constructive to say please go back and join the riff-raff of the wall-street occupying independent thinkers.

February 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm
(51) Joe in CA says:

Good Doctor,

Not to put too strong a point on it, but “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”.

It is funny how “your type” (I’m guessing you aren’t a religious man) believe it silly for anyone to believe in an “all-knowing deity”. Instead, you believe in an “all-knowing mortal”. Which is sillier?

To think that the Central Committee (or whatever politically correct term you choose to use) should make all of our decisions for us is the first step down a well-paved road.

America’s greatness comes from common people, not some small group of self-important elites. True, if the Central Committee is going to feed, clothe and bathe us all, they should be making the decisions.

I choose Self Sufficiency, having grown up in a time when an aspirin delivered by your professional antecedents didn’t cost $50. At what cost do we attempt to “make things better”? And why do YOU get to make the determination of what “better” is?

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen! Samuel Adams

February 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm
(52) Vincent Iannelli, MD says:

“And why do YOU get to make the determination of what “better” is?”

A new documentary, Hunger Hits Home, discusses the problem of childhood hunger in America, which affects one if five children.

It is these kids that I think this program is supposed to help, not the few kids who got caught up in by a teacher making a mistake.

Hunger in our Schools


February 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm
(53) MICHELLE says:

In relation to the original article, there was nothing to make “better” for this child. She had a healthy, nutritious lunch. She was not going hungry.

And since I was in grade school 25 years ago I have never known a kid to go hungry at school…reduced or free lunches were provided even back then.

Furthermore, any child that is going hungry outside of school (their parents) can obtain WIC or whatever your state calls in their own PC terminology.

March 6, 2012 at 9:35 am
(54) Bama Doonkie says:

you know what makes a MUCH better headline, other than how the FOOD POLICE are taking lunches packed from home, and telling the parents they don’t know WHATS best for their own children :

“USDA has decided that Pink Slime For School Lunch: Government Buying 7 Million Pounds Of Ammonia-Treated Meat For Meals .. is a GOOD thing” :


March 13, 2012 at 9:01 am
(55) GA Doc says:

I am horrified that the government can come in and replace a child’s home packed lunch!

Secondly, there are many comments about educating the child on proper nutrition. I think it’s great to teach the children but they are not the ones buying the food or packing the lunches. The parent(s) are. So wouldn’t it be prudent to educate the parent(s)? I wonder how many parents would attend “Meet the Nutritional Standards” school meeting?

We as parents and as American need to stop the outrageous control the government has on us and on our kids!

Yes, our kids are obese. So is the most of America. Can something be done about it? YES. Education is vital. But to take a child’s lunch homemade lunch away from a child is not the answer. The “police” could have made a note and contacted the parent and educated the parent instead of embarrassing the child in front of their classmates and teachers. Instead of creating a thought in the child’s head that my “Mom’s” lunch is not good for me they could simply send a note home. There are other ways of handling the situation then what happened. I truly hope the “Food Police Program” has learned a lesson from this horrific incident.

If the family is in a financial crisis that is a different story all together.

Here’s another concern – don’t eat your homemade food but eat our RED SLIME food as approved by the FDA. That really makes sense.

I am simply furious over this.

June 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm
(56) chazb says:

Time to HOME SCHOOL. Put so-called “Teachers” out of business…on unemployment.

June 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm
(57) clint kearns says:

It’s not what the kids eat it’s what the kids aren’t doing. They don’t have outside play time to go run, swing and just play out doors. We ate horrible school lunches, brought lunch from home and never got “over-weight”. Let kids have fun and play like kids are supposed to instead of over protecting. You can eat just about anything you want as long as there is some type of exercise involved. Tell the teachers no matter what age they teach to getup and get involved with the kids.

June 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm
(58) what. says:

So, they took her sandwich and banana away to give her chicken nuggets, a fried food? What the heck?!

June 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm
(59) Cindy W says:

You know what would happen if they inspected MY kids lunch!!!! She is such a picky eater that I fight to find things to put in there!!! If they decided she needed to eat what they thought she should eat then she would go hungry because there is no way in the world she would eat ANYTHING they have in her school’s cafeteria!!!!!!

September 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm
(60) Danielle says:

My Kindergartener was not allowed to eat his lunch which consisted of whole grain granola bar, organic raisins and vegetable juice because “they” said it did not contain enough protein. They instead feed him a processed, sodium nitrate corn dog. The next day his class cooked hot dogs wrapped in a processed croissant as a “treat” Yet I get a note that my lunch was not nutritous? I am so profoundly upset by this lack of logic. What has happened to parent’s right and our country?

September 20, 2012 at 11:13 am
(61) Vincent Iannelli, MD says:

“My Kindergartener was not allowed to eat his lunch which consisted of whole grain granola bar, organic raisins and vegetable juice because “they” said it did not contain enough protein.”

While those are certainly nutritious foods, they likely would not add up to what most people would consider a well-balanced lunch for the average five- or six-year-old. On the other hand, with a five-year-old who has just started kindergarten, I do understand the challenges of sending a lunch to school that my child will actually eat.

What state do you live in? The national standards made changes:

Ensuring students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week;
Substantially increasing offerings of whole grain-rich foods;
Offering only fat-free or low-fat milk varieties;
Limiting calories based on the age of children being served to ensure proper portion size; and
Increasing the focus on reducing the amounts of saturated fat, trans fats and sodium.

October 1, 2012 at 1:04 pm
(62) Unbelievable says:

So, if this was my kid.. the next day I would be at the school. And I think possible draggin the “Food cop” out of the lunchroom by the B@lls.

Maybe people need to have a good a$$kicking..

Me. “You the one who took my kids lunch from her yesterday?”
Fat Useless Food Nazi: “Yeah, it didnt…. OW>> MY TEETH>> YOU KNOWKED OUT MY TEEF>>>”
Me. “Have a chicken nugget.”

October 1, 2013 at 5:22 pm
(63) Shirley Jones says:

Here’s a crazy notion: Stop cutting funds for Physical Education, making P.E. only available to kids once or twice a week, and reinstate daily P.E. Get all middle and high school kids on a sports team, regardless of ability, and watch the weight fall off! Gee. A non-food answer. Who would’ve guessed?

October 22, 2013 at 11:53 am
(64) Me says:

And besides all that what kids (and all of us for that matter) need is not to meet “minimum nutritional needs” they need to meet MAXIMUM NUTRITIONAL NEEDS to avoid obesity and disease!!!

October 22, 2013 at 3:09 pm
(65) BMelt says:

Does it really matter whether they were supposed to replace the whole meal or just what is missing? So what the kid needed dairy in his daily nutrition. Most likely his mom planned on him having dairy at home. The government still don’t seem t think parents are capable of planning for the nutritional needs of their child. If more people would send their kids lunches to school, less kids would be battling obesity.

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