Government Cheese

Because They Are Poisoning Us

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Monday, June 13, 2005

New Jersey’s Junk Ban

We’re still keeping an eye on Connecticut’s Bill 1309, banning some junk food from the state’s public schools.

The Bill is a welcome good start, sure, but it is flawed. There is a misconception that because high-fructose corn syrup, which is still less than half fructose and mostly glucose, is packaged in a nippled bottle with a picture of a sweaty ballplayer on the label that it is somehow healthy.

The latest word is that Gov. Rell, above, will veto it.


Now New Jersey is the latest of some dozen and a half states to attempt to enact a junk food ban. Never one to mess around, the Garden State proposes to be a bit stricter than Connecticut:

Under the New Jersey plan, soda, candy and foods listing sugar as the first or principal ingredient will be banned from school cafeterias. Snacks and drinks with more than eight grams of total fat per serving and two grams of saturated fat will be banned, and cafeterias will have to restrict amounts of foods with trans fats.

Paleolithic readers might not like that limit on saturated fat, but remember that ‘snacks and drinks’ in this case most likely means dairy fat and transfatty hydrogenated crap like corn chips and yellow, plastic nacho cheeze (with a Z).

Jersey’s is the better plan here, as they would ban all soda pop (even diet), and “sports” drinks. Only water, milk, and 100% juice. And this means everywhere at the school, vending machines, after-school activities and events.

Some buildings are said to “rely” on the extra income of peddling junk food, but that’s tough. The schools are going to have to figure out that they can turn a profit selling something more wholesome at a ball game. Complaining that a concession stand can’t capitalize on selling healthier snacks like fruit and pita sandwiches and fresh juice is like saying no one’s going to pay a couple hundred more for a car with seatbelts in it.

It may be true that demand has more power than supply when it comes to teenage appetites. And I’m sure a cocaine dealer says he doesn’t have to ‘push’ his product; it just sells itself. But the school snack bar is not the place to conduct such an experiment.

Of course, the article lets us know some people don’t like the junk food ban, like 13-year-old Malcolm Jones, who says “it’s whack” that they took his pizza and fries.

Like the Connecticut Bill, the NJ Law calls for the implementation of stricter rules over the next couple years. But whereas Connecticut legislators seek to require each local school system form a “School Wellness Committee”, all public and private Jersey schools, those receiving federal funds for subsidized meal plans, must all comply with the same rules.

There are ways around it, of course, which we’ll see when the new rules go into effect. For instance, there seems to be no ban on what a child can bring into the school himself. The more enterprising kids might try their hand at peddling chocolate bars and potato chips on the playground. A “brown bag” lunch may well replace the “dime bag” as the schools’ most controlled contraband.

But I think I prefer what New Jersey’s doing to the Connecticut proposals.

And any law that is deemed “whack” by a 13-year-old must be a great law.


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11:03 PM  

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