More government waste

If you have children in school, you already know where this post is going.  If not, read on to learn how the government is wasting your tax dollars in yet another venue.

With the First Lady’s both urging and encouragement, school lunch programs are quite different this year.

… prompted by changes in federal school-lunch rules, Central Florida students are not allowed to turn down the healthful produce… [emphasis supplied]

Here’s the way this piece of government intrusion works.  Unlike years past, this year, students must take a serving of fruit and vegetable whether they want it or not.  In the past, if a student didn’t want to take a serving of, let’s say, spinach, he or she could decline to do so. And, schools spent less money buying and preparing spinach.  They did so only to meet expected student demand for spinach.  Now, schools must spend the money to both purchase and prepare enough spinach for the entire student body. 

Nationally, as more schools adjust to the new rule, many are starting to take trash studies more seriously.

What is a trash study, you ask? 

That is where schools try to figure our what the students are throwing away.

…uneaten lunchtime food nationwide costs taxpayers about $600 million a year or more, according to a 2002 congressional report.

And how does one conduct said study?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture already has sunk $2 million into a  [trash study] in San Antonio schools, where researchers photograph students’ plates during lunch. 

Other districts in Texas and Massachusetts are contracting with researchers who will monitor lunchtime trash…

As a public service, this blog will come to the rescue.  For considerably less than $2 million, we will tell the federal government what is being tossed, literally, that is, by students…fruits, vegetables and anything cleverly disguised as real food that is made from fruits or vegetables.


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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. JBS on October 1, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    SOS, I think you have it nailed!
    AND, I think that there is a union boondoggle here. Anything to do with trash is union territory. Thus, jobs for the union!!!!! Dollars for the officials!! Yeaaaahhhh!
    As an aside, as a young trooper, I witnessed the WASTE in my unit’s messhall. The slop cans were sold to farmers for a lot of money. No mystery there! And, I am sure there was also DISPOSAL fee. Always a fee. Could this be the same scam??
    The Class-A rations were loooonnnng gone, by the way. We NEVER saw them. (Steaks, chops, etc.)
    I suspect that there is more to Moochell’s change in menu than what’s best for the children.

  2. Dimsdale on October 1, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    “The U.S. Department of Agriculture already has sunk $2 million into a? [trash study]?in San Antonio schools, where researchers photograph students? plates during lunch.?
    Other districts in Texas and Massachusetts are contracting with researchers who will monitor lunchtime trash?”

    In the interests of good old capitalist competition, I will do that trash study for half of what those “researchers” are charging.?? In MA anyway….??? 😉

  3. phil on October 2, 2012 at 10:06 am

    My mom had it figured.? She always cooked ALMOST enough for each meal.? Hungry?? Eat faster than everybody else.? Want seconds? Little sister isn’t? finished with her spinach yet Snatch!? Mon’s cooking never got criticized, either.

  4. JollyRoger on October 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    A lot of those foods can be turned into delicious meals if they’ve got any talent in the kitchen… ?I’d love to see Gordon Ramsey visit average school cafeterias and assess the state of school lunch in America! ?

  5. PatRiot on October 2, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” – Pink Floyd?

  6. Dimsdale on October 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    From Charles Dickens “Oliver”:

    The room in which the boys were fed, was a large stone hall, with a copper at one end: out of which the master, dressed in an apron for the purpose, and assisted by one or two women, ladled the gruel at mealtimes. Of this festive composition each boy had one porringer, and no more — except on occasions of great public rejoicing, when he had two ounces and a quarter of bread besides. The bowls never wanted washing. The boys polished them with their spoons till they shone again; and when they had performed this operation, (which never took very long, the spoons being nearly as large as the bowls,) they would sit staring at the copper, with such eager eyes, as if they could have devoured the very bricks of which it was composed; employing themselves, meanwhile, in sucking their fingers most assiduously, with the view of catching up any stray splashes of gruel that might have been cast thereon. Boys have generally excellent appetites. Oliver Twist and his companions suffered the tortures of slow starvation for three months; at last they got so voracious and wild with hunger, that one boy: who was tall for his age, and hadn’t been used to that sort of thing, (for…

  7. Dimsdale on October 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    ….. his father had kept a small cook’s shop): hinted darkly to his companions, that unless he had another basin of gruel per diem, he was afraid he might some night happen to eat the boy who slept next him, who happened to be a weakly youth of tender age. He had a wild, hungry, eye; and they implicitly believed him. A council was held; lots were cast who should walk up to the master after supper that evening, and ask for more; and it fell to Oliver Twist.

    Sound familiar?? (My apologies for the long post, but it is so ?bamaesque!)

  8. lizzieswish on October 2, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I taught school for 35 years and am very familiar with school cafeterias. ?Very often my young students could not consume all of their meal within the 20 minutes or so allocated and would want to bring fruit or a bag of chips back to the classroom to take home. ?Cafeteria staff routinely made them throw the food away! ?They said it was illegal to remove food paid for with Federal funds from the cafeteria (even though I pointed out several students had actually paid full fare for their food). I taught my kids how the slip an apple up their sleeves or how to tuck a bag of unopened chips under their shirts, ?Ridiculous? ?You bet! ?But not as ridiculous as throwing away food that kids wanted to eat!

  9. ricbee on October 2, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    A Hartford schools guy I know says the walls & floors of the cafeterias are thick with food.


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