In the name of teaching kids responsibility and the importance of making good choices, states and localities across the country have stripped students of the ability and responsibility to choose what foods they eat. Now the federal government is getting into the act. A bill introduced last Tuesday by a group of U.S. Senators — including Patrick Leahy (D-Ben & Jerry’s), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Jeff Bingaman (D-Enron), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), and Jim Jeffords (I-Your Ad Here) — would empower the Secretary of Agriculture to eliminate all “foods of minimal nutritional value” before the end of lunch.

The “Leahy-Lugar” bill doesn’t just target vending machines. As written, it directs the Secretary to lump together all foods that are “sold, donated, or served” on school grounds. In other words, this gang of five has asked Ag Secretary Ann Veneman to slam the cafeteria doors on everything from Girl Scout Cookies to pepperoni pizza to athletic-team bake sales.

Banning bake sales, by the way, already has a precedent at the state level. We had hoped our federal legislators could recognize a bad idea when they saw one.