Carolina Journal News Reports
CJ Series

Regulating School Nutrition

State lawmakers have targeted everything from juice boxes to homemade lunches as they issue regulations intended to improve the food youngsters eat at school. CJ not only investigates the rules but also looks at whether limiting families' choices results in healthier children.

(5.30.12) ‘Chicken Nugget’ Bill Would Restore Parental Authority
RALEIGH — A bill to counter “the overreaching arm of government” when it comes to policing preschool lunch boxes has made it out of a Senate committee and could be up for a floor vote by Wednesday.

(4.04.12) ‘Nugget’ Lunch Incident Spurs Debate on Preschool Nutrition
RALEIGH — State rules for pre-kindergarten programs require sites to provide meals meeting U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements during the regular school day. Partial or full costs of meals may be charged if families do not qualify for free or reduced price meals.

(3.23.12) Hoke County Teacher Brought to Tears During ‘Nugget’ Investigation
RALEIGH — Notes taken at the Feb. 16 meeting also show school district officials confusing dates and sequences of events. They accused Maynor of lying, though the recollection of events she gave that day appears to be consistent with earlier accounts.

(3.14.12) DHHS Official Grilled Over Preschooler’s Rejected Lunch
RALEIGH — The director of the state agency that regulates nutrition at preschool providers was asked whether the cafeteria lunch provided to a 4-year-old was healthier than the one she brought from home. They also wanted to know if the teacher should have faced discipline from the school.

(3.06.12) Teacher Suspended Over Chicken Nugget Incident
RALEIGH — The Hoke County School District has suspended the teacher who substituted homemade lunches from preschoolers Jan. 30. State officials have said substituting bag lunches did not violate state policy.

(3.01.12) CJ Editorial: On the School Lunch Menu: Bureaucracy
The school-lunch story offers a lesson about the blind faith bureaucrats have in their ability to modify behavior.

(2.29.12) Child Care Commission Gets An Earful From Critics, Supporters
RALEIGH — The commission may adopt rules that would modify early childhood nutritional programs. The speakers were commenting on the proposed rule changes and on enforcement of existing rules across the state. New rules could be adopted in early May.

(2.23.12) DHHS Defends School Lunch Inspections
RALEIGH — The mother of the 4-year-old who first objected to the inspection of her child's lunch by West Hoke Elementary School says the school continues to give her daughter milk every day, against her wishes.

(2.17.12) Who Is the Mystery Food Monitor?
RALEIGH — Of the several government agencies who have been named in the controversy, none will admit that it was responsible for employing or contracting with the person who was inspecting preschoolers’ lunches at West Hoke Elementary School in late January.

(2.16.12) Chicken Nugget Furor Prompts Bipartisan Congressional Letter to Federal Cabinet Leader
WASHINGTON — The national uproar over a Hoke County 4-year-old’s recent encounter with government-paid preschool lunch monitors has prompted two members of the N.C. congressional delegation to fire off a letter expressing “strong concern” to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

(2.14.12) Preschooler’s Homemade Lunch Replaced with Cafeteria “Nuggets”
RAEFORD — All lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs must meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines. When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement the missing ones.

(6.30.11) N.C. Lawmakers On a Mission to Conquer Obesity
RALEIGH — Bills targeting food served at schools, sodium consumption, and diabetes are putting lawmakers in charges of school and family menus. The role of taxpayer-financed health care is used to justify state action.

(7.14.10) Childhood Obesity Mandates Largely Become Suggestions
RALEIGH — The most controversial bill initially was intended to ban whole fat milk, fruit juice, and sugar sweetened beverages in day care centers and preschools. Later, a provision banning bottles was tacked on.

(6.14.10) Child-Obesity Mandates Sought By Task Force
RALEIGH — Some members of the General Assembly want to climb on the national anti-obesity bandwagon by mandating food types and exercise in day care centers and obesity screenings in schools, but others say the proposed measures are just another intrusion of government between parents and their children.