British Health Nannies Hunt for Lunchbox Contraband

More bad news out of Britain. The same country that once produced George Orwell's 1984 (in which citizens were appropriately subject to a chocolate ration) is now rifling through kids' lunchboxes, looking for sweets:

Ofsted inspectors are snooping in children’s lunchboxes and marking schools down if they find crisps and chocolate, it emerged yesterday. …

Notes on three of the five schools contained comments on the contents of lunchboxes, including ‘most have fruit but many have crisps, also fruit squash, and processed sausage’ and ‘very little “bad” food – no evidence of crisps and chocolate’.

In the two other schools, inspectors stopped short of rifling through lunchboxes and instead interviewed pupils about their eating habits.

We've been exasperated before by the random, simplistic, unscientific division of "good foods" and "bad foods" promoted by Big Brother. But this is the first time we've seen "bad foods" actually treated like illegal contraband. What's next? Pat-downs for children entering the cafeteria to search for Skittles? Twinkie-sniffing guard dogs? Maybe Jamie Oliver is writing down ideas for his next attempt at “Food Revolution.”

Lunchbox inspections seem pretty tame next to other solutions from across the pond. One UK government report released three years ago recommended "fat quota" rationing cards for regulating food purchases and mandatory fat camps for overweight teens. All in the name of defeating that enemy of the state, obesity. (We've always been at war with Eastasia, Winston. Why do you ask?)

Of course, as even that study from 2007 noted, there's no solid evidence that any of these solutions will affect anyone's weight. Instead of snack searches, our English friends could increase their physical education standards. Right now, there are no specific daily or weekly requirements for PE classes or recess in Britain. This is despite the fact that numerous studies have confirmed the importance of physical activity in combating obesity.

And while American schools haven't unleashed the food cops on unsuspecting lunchboxes, they might start to think it's a good idea. Schools in Michigan and Pennsylvania are banning sweets like cupcakes and candy during school celebrations. And if domestic food nuisances like Kelly Brownell have their way, we could quickly find the idea of cafeteria desserts flushed down the memory hole.

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