Last fall, California adopted strict restrictions on what foods are available in schools, banning the sale of foods that do not meet arbitrary standards for fat and sugar content in cafeterias, snack bars, vending machines and even at student bake sale fundraisers, and limiting the sale of soft drinks. The measure’s sponsor declared: “I’m very persistent… I will remove junk foods from schools in the next four years.” Oakland soon took it a step further by prohibiting students from buying soft drinks and candy from vending machines at schools altogether.
Now, Kentucky is considering legislation that would ban candy bars, snacks and sodas from school vending machines — and the state is using the so-called “obesity epidemic” as an excuse: “Buoyed by studies that show rising numbers of overweight children, legislators are trying to crack down on junk food in schools, saying it’s too prevalent and too accessible.” This intrusion into people’s lives could spread further. One school administrator declares: “We have students for six hours of the day. ”Maybe we should look at the other 18 hours of the day and see what the kids are eating.”
Remember that anti-obesity warriors have already declared the campaign against soft drinks in schools a “wedge” issue meant to open up all sorts of foods and beverages to new government regulation and restriction, for children and adults. In the words of one skeptical Kentucky superintendent: ”Are we going to have the candy bar police?”