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  • New Federal Regulations Burden Student Entrepreneurs

    12/10/2013 9:54:47 AM Posted by Ashley Pratte

    New federal nutrition regulations expand from school lunch programs to now burdening programs not receiving any federal funds: student entrepreneurs in school stores, and student leaders merely wanting to hold bake sales. The Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in School as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (one of First Lady Michelle Obama's initiatives) has taken regulations from simply the food service program to all food sold anywhere on campus from midnight to thirty minutes after the official end of the school day; and this expansion coupled with tightened nutrition standards will all be shoved down your school system's throat this July.

    The old adage is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that reigns true in this case as well. The new rules puts an end to bake sales, cookie fundraisers and has eliminated most items from the shelves of school stores all in the name of ending obesity. While these rules may have been made under good intentions, they reek of unintended consequences. With shrinking student activity funds, already financially strained extracurricular activities are forced to find yet again another revenue stream because bake sales of apples, oranges, and expensive natural fruit bars are difficult profit producers. School stores simply trying to teach students how to run a business now have to go out of the way to replace popular products with smaller and more expensive ones and likely search for new distributors. 

    These regulations are now incentivizing students to bring the unhealthy food from home that they used to buy at school. Without the education to make smart decisions regarding eating habits, the type of food won't change, rather only where the student gets the food from. This doesn't help students make healthy decisions, it only burdens school based enterprises and student activity organizations.

    Most importantly, these regulations aren't teaching students to be smart, independent, personally responsible learners of their world; rather they are teaching them to be dependent and regulation navigators. There is a larger issue behind obesity in America, and it largely has to do with the individual responsibility of the student. Students should learn how to make decisions that are right for them, and our educators should be there to help, not enforce nutrition mandates.

    I am not arguing against the regulation of federally funded school lunch programs, but I strongly challenge the federal government's regulation of all independent food sold on a school campus. This is yet another example of the overreaching regulations of today's federal government that adults and private businesses face daily. Hopefully my peers will realize that these mandates like Obamacare, are regressive. Hopefully they will stand up and turn 'generation y us' into a generation of freedom fighters. But for now, it is unfortunate that we have become a nation of force by regulation, instead of responsibility through education. 

    Grant Strobl is theFounding Chairman for the Grosse Pointe North High School Young Americans for Freedom chapter.

     Get Fit Michelle Obama




    • Readers' Comments

    • Give me liberty, and a brownie! Interesting analysis. While the federal government has seemingly overreached here, do you offer any window for regulation according to age of student? Should an 11-year-old child be able to buy pizza and pop after school? Is this a place for parents to have sole authority; yet does the school undermine that authority by making unhealthy options so readily available? What if these were local or state (ALEC-drafted) initiatives? Is it strictly the federal nature you oppose, or the act of the government at any level engaging in such legislation? On a related note, there are more than 40 provisions of this Act. Only the Bake Sale Armageddon is getting any publicity. I agree that this item is probably not included in the "original intent" of the Constitutional Framers. Nevertheless, the official student lunch program has undergone considerable overhaul in recent years, which seems to be a good thing. Do we agree that free-market capitalism ought to stop at the school cafeteria? If private companies (and what school lunch program hasn't been privatized) do not have to follow strict nutritional rules about what they serve to children, what is to keep them from exploiting this captive and naive market with a cheap, but yummy product?
      Posted by Andrew Taylor on 12/10/2013
    • Interesting questions. I do not object to the new regulations if they only applied to school lunches, even if they are privatized, because of the assistance through free or reduced price lunch options. If the taxpayer is assisting in paying for school lunches they should be healthy. However, my main objection with the new regulations is the small part of them: the expansion to all foods throughout the school from beginning to end of the day. I think that is government over-reach. Obesity is a problem in America, and I believe the solution is through eduction not regulation.
      Posted by Grant Strobl on 12/11/2013
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