Kids won’t eat vegetables, so you might as well let them subsist on french fries and industrial pizza. That, said Kristin Wartman, was the logic Congress used last week in killing new Department of Agriculture guidelines that would have increased the amount of fruit and vegetables in school lunches. After large food companies such as ConAgra and Schwan spent $5.6 million lobbying against new nutrition guidelines, lawmakers let schools continue to count french fries and the tomato sauce on frozen pizzas as vegetables.
It’s not the job of the “nanny state,” say conservatives, to “tell people what to eat.” But government doesn’t control what kids eat—“corporations do.” Through Big Food’s relentless advertising and its monopoly on school cafeterias, kids are so conditioned to the taste of “sugary, salty, and fatty food products” that vegetables, fruit, and other real food seem bland by comparison. Is it any wonder that one fifth of 4-year-olds are obese? Thanks to ConAgra and its pals in Congress, our schoolkids’ right to feast on frozen pizza and fries has been protected.