Won’t Somebody Think of the Potatoes?

Priorities, people. Repeat after me: Make the school lunches healthy, and then do whatever you must to pay for it. I don’t even have kids, and this principle is perfectly obvious to me. But apparently when it cuts into the profits of the food-industrial complex, it’s not so cut and dried. Behold, the cluster-f-bomb:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/02/us/school-lunch-proposals-set-off-a-dispute.html

I must give the USDA snaps for trying to encourage healthier diets in kids.  I still can’t get over how they actually help dairy farmers sell more full-fat dairy products by hiring marketing experts to design and advertise even-more-cheese-laden fast food items to sell us.  And of course, these are the people that brought you corn subsidies.  This time, they’re not the villain.  But their efforts to reform school lunches and reduce the amount of starch and sodium kids consume with their school lunch have been met with resistance from legislators and the industries who own them.  Apparently it’s not a good idea to put the kibosh on the school lunch potato parade, because that hurts potato farmers.  You’ve heard this song before.  It’s the same one the corn farmers sing when they’re afraid somebody might turn off the corn subsidy gravy train.

Even school officials in urban areas are fighting against the changes, because they don’t think they can afford the $0.14 per lunch extra it will cost to serve more non-starchy vegetables in place of so many potatoes.  How sad is the state of affairs when the very people charged with looking out for the most vulnerable are basically forced to say, “Please let us continue feeding crap to our kids.”

I feel the same way about the potato farmes as I do about the corn farmers and the dairy farmers who complained when Americans started buying fewer full-fat dairy products:  If your profits are based upon selling more of your products than is healthy for your customers to eat, I have no sympathy for you.

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