In an incident that is similar to a recent American episode, a Canadian mother was fined $10 because the fruit and vegetable-heavy homemade lunches she made for her children didn’t meet the province’s nutritional requirements. To make matters worse for the health-conscience mom, daycare workers ordered the children to eat a processed food, Ritz Crackers, in the name of “nutrition.”
Kristin Bartkiw thought she was doing the right thing when she gave her children lunches consisting of leftover roast beef and potatoes, carrots, an orange and milk. Daycare workers decided the lunch was not nutritious because it lacked a grain – required by Manitoba law. They gave the children a “grain” in the form of Ritz Crackers and fined Bartkiw $10.
The workers at the Little Cub’s Den Daycare in Rossburn, Manitoba, were trying to comply with a provincial government policy that requires daycares to provide children with “nutritious and balanced meals and snacks” that have a milk product, a meat, a grain and two servings of fruit or vegetables.
A provincial statement said:
The province requires child-care centres to ensure children have nutritious and balanced meals and snacks throughout the day. These can be supplied by the centre or the parents. The province would expect centres to work with parents in educating them regarding what consists of nutritious meals/snacks.
Children Given Junk Food in Name of Nutrition
Here’s what a 100 gram serving of Ritz original crackers contains according to Ritz’s own website:
- 26.1 grams of fat.
- 12.3 grams of saturated fat
- 6.6 grams of sugar
- 3.3 grams of salt
- 1.3 grams of sodium
- Glucose Syrup
Judging by that description, Ritz Crackers can safely be described as a junk food and hardly as nutritious.
“I don’t blame the daycare,” Bartkiw told The Winnipeg Sun newspaper. She said the fines were created because of the poor lunches some parents were giving their children. “We chose to do it as more of a deterrent because parents were sending their children a lunch with only a pizza pop.”
But she also noted the irony that if she had sent “microwave Kraft Dinner and a hot dog, a package of fruit twists, a Cheestring, and a juice box,” it would have been allowed.
After the incident with Bartkiw’s children, the Little Cub’s Den board decided to start giving children a hot lunch and to forget about sack lunches.
“It was just too difficult for parents to follow these strict deadlines,” Bartkiw said of the lunch policy.
Americans that say “this cannot happen here” should remember that the school lunch program administered by the US Department of Agriculture counts the tomato paste on pizza as a “vegetable.” The Bartkiw family’s experiences show that bureaucrats cannot be trusted to make nutritional decisions for children. We should be leery of any federal or state efforts to impose nutritional standards in school lunches.
And America, Too
As Off The Grid News reported earlier this year, a Virginia preschool requires parents to have a doctor’s note to send a packed lunch with their children– a policy that critics say infringes on parental rights and leads to children eating more processed food.
An excerpt from the school note banning sack lunches reads:
“Parents are to be informed that students can only bring lunches from home if there is a medical condition meriting a specific diet, along with a physician’s note to that regard. I am sorry for any inconvenience.”
The policy of banning outside food at schools apparently is widespread. A Hawaii website detailing its Head Start program says “outside foods are not allowed.”