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October 22. 2012 7:11PM

The veggie mandate: Teens resist, for now

It seems that Michelle Obama is as good at wasting food as her husband is at wasting money.

Thanks to a federal law passed last year at the First Lady’s urging, students are throwing away loads of carrots, apples, fruit cups and other healthy foods. The law requires not just that these items be offered in school cafeterias, but that students put them on their trays. If a student does not take one of the healthy foods, the school cannot get reimbursed by Washington for that lunch.

The result was entirely predictable: Kids are tossing the fruits and vegetables in the trash.

“We’ve seen a lot more food thrown away,” Londonderry Schools food service director Nancy Faucon told this newspaper. Manchester Board of School Committee member John Avard said he has witnessed the same thing in the city’s school cafeterias. Students openly admit that they throw the healthy food in the garbage, as this newspaper photographed several doing last week.

In addition, the law has reduced serving sizes of breads. Students are eating less bread and tossing the federally mandated carrots. That leaves them hungry, so they are filling up on snack foods. This is a classic unintended consequence of a feel-good liberal mandate. It also is hugely wasteful. In effect, families are paying twice for that snack food — once in the form of the subsidized veggies that get trashed and again when their kids spend their own money at the vending machine.

The left’s response will not be to repeal the law and acknowledge that they cannot impose their preferences on teenagers by force. No, it will be to try some new way to force teens to actually eat the fruits and veggies. Just wait. People who think it’s OK for government to deny us 20-oz sodas while forcing us to purchase health insurance will think nothing of mandating that all of us (students first, the rest of us later) eat our broccoli.


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