School Lunch

Kids in one rural Kentucky town are hungry and they’re not going to take it any more.

Michelle Obama has been a proponent for the new USDA meal regulations implemented by the Department of Agriculture under the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010″, but she seems to be the only one happy about the food options. Parents and students in Harlan County, Kentucky have  complained to the school board feeling as though they’re starving by the end of the day because the food tastes nasty and the portions are small.

“They say it tastes like vomit,” said Harlan County Public Schools board member Myra Mosley at a contentious board meeting last week, reports The Harlan Daily Enterprise.

Vomit? Really? 

Parents have also complained about the use of brown wheat bread, the skim or one percent fat milk and the flavored milk is now nonfat.

The Harlan Daily Enterprise reports:

Jack Miniard, director of school and community nutrition, said new USDA regulations under the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act largely govern food choices and portion sizes. The meat or protein requirement is limited to one serving per meal. The only way for students to receive an additional serving is to purchase it themselves.

The same issue exists with carbohydrates or starches, such as potatoes (often French fries) that are limited to one serving of three-fourths of a cup, Miniard noted. Many students also reject the brown wheat bread the cafeterias are serving now.

“It’s strange and different for them, so they don’t like it,” he said.

While fruits and vegetables are offered freely and students can take their fill of those, meats and carbohydrates will continue to be served in limited portions only, so students complain of not getting enough food. Parents shouted to the board, “Kids can’t learn when they’re hungry!”

Miniard said some preference issues, like the bread’s appearance, can be addressed in supply choices the district makes as it works with vendors. He noted the board has accepted the bid for food supplies through December and those items will show up in the system within the next few weeks.

At the end of the calendar year, the board could make different choices, but must justify under the regulations why it might not accept the lowest bid, he added.

Although the schools that choose to participate in the program receive a subsidy of almost six figures, because the food is becoming so unpopular, many school districts are contemplating dropping out of the federal program.

I still doubt the food tastes like vomit. In the words of Ike Turner, “Eat the cake Ana Mae”, or just bring your own lunch.


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