The frenzied movement to expunge every last morsel of cake and every remaining drop of soda from schools is beginning to make some pint-sized enemies. New Haven, Connecticut schools aren’t just purging candy and soft drinks from their corridors; they’re also going after student bake sales and birthday cupcakes. Sodas and snacks are under attack in lunchrooms across the nation. The self-described “food police” at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) even took a swipe at milk served in school lunch rooms this week. Needless to say, this food zealotry isn’t sitting well with kids — and some aren’t going to take it anymore.
A group of girls at Lancaster Intermediate School in Texas have formed a “French Fry Committee” to protest the Texas Department of Agriculture’s encroachment on their lunch plates. Fry Committee member Jessica Story sees the writing on the wall: “Some people might say, ‘Why fight for French fries? It’s small.’ But if we don’t fight for this, they might take away pizza and hamburgers.” And in a San Jose Mercury News op-ed this week, California high school student Natalie James strikes a blow for personal responsibility: “When you eat a super double ultimate supreme turbo ridiculously large bacon cheeseburger with large fries and drink, do you really think you can blame the restaurant for the resulting love handles?”
Of course, this dietary blitzkrieg on our nation’s schools in just a foreshadowing of what could happen to all of our dinner plates. Anti-obesity warriors have described the campaign against soda in schools as the wedge issue meant to open the floodgates for all sorts of new restrictions on adult food choices. They see young Natalie’s notion of personal responsibility as a speed bump on their twisted journey to a nutritional utopia. CSPI’s Margo Wootan, who recently called dairy foods a “dangerous trap,” has also declared “We have got to move beyond personal responsibility.” And what happens then? CSPI chief Michael Jacobson hopes it will make us more receptive to “taxes on butter, potato chips, whole milk, cheeses, [and] meat.”