In what seems like a warped episode of Sesame Street, the letter “C” has drawn the ire of food cops and prompted a series of recent school bans. In the name of “fighting obesity,” nutrition activists have blacklisted cocoa, cookies, cola, and, most recently, cupcakes from the schoolhouse. As the Chicago Tribune notes, these bans extend well beyond the cafeteria lunch line:
What began with strict dietary guidelines for cafeteria food and a soda pop-ban in grade school vending machines increasingly extends to the last beachhead for sugar-laden food in schools: classroom parties and holiday treats.
Though these restrictions may not be as arbitrary as “alphabet bias,” the underlying guidelines are far from reasonable. In early 2007, the Institute of Medicine outlined instructions to save school kids from allegedly dangerous items like baked potato chips, graham crackers, pretzels, caffeine-free diet soda, and carbonated water. According to the Tribune, several school officials are even going one step further: “Offerings must be nut-free, a concession to child allergy concerns, and void of saturated fats and high-fructose corn syrup.” (Yum.)
At this rate, soon nothing will be considered “safe” for consumption. This year alone, food tyrants have tried to take cupcakes away from school kids, cookies away from Santa Claus, and doughnuts away from senior citizens. The pie’s the limit for Big Brother in our diet — unless we say otherwise.