AUSTIN, Texas – Incoming Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is sending a message … about cupcakes.
As Miller’s first act as the state’s head of agriculture, he’s granting amnesty for cupcakes in the state’s schools, according to BigCountryHomepage.com.
“We want families, teachers and school districts in Texas to know the Texas Department of Agriculture has abolished all rules and guidelines that would stop a parent from bringing cupcakes to school,” Miller said in a press release.
“This act is about providing local control to our communities.”
Miller is teaming with the Austin bakers at Hey Cupcake! to share the news and free cupcakes for those who attend a press conference this coming Monday. He’s also delivering 181 cupcakes to state representatives and senators at the capital to remind them that the 2004 Texas Public School Nutrition Policy is no more, and to encourage them to pass on the news to their constituents, Fox reports.
That legislation restricted the types of foods that could be purchased or given away in Texas schools based on their nutritional value, but were later repealed to restore local decision-making about school foods.
“Many Texas residents are unaware of the repeal, and as his first act at the helm of TDA, Commissioner Miller wants to ensure Texans are clear on the policy,” Big Country Homepage reports.
Unfortunately, federal school food restrictions on calories, salt, fat, sugar and other nutritional aspects implemented through the National School Lunch Program and championed by First Lady Michelle Obama still affect Texas schools that participate in that program, which is most.
Across the country, students and school officials are revolting against the new federal lunch restrictions imposed on schools in 2012. Those regulations have driven more than 1 million students away from school lunches and convinced hundreds of school districts to drop out of the National School Choice Program due to plummeting cafeteria sales.
The federal regulations, which require students take a fruit or vegetable whether or not they want it, has also created well over $1 billion in food waste.
And while some school officials have given up on National School Lunch Program, others have implemented some pretty zany food policies in an effort to comply.
And cupcakes have been targeted for the chopping block.
At Derry Township schools near Hershey, Superintendent Joseph McFarland banned birthday cupcakes and is instead suggesting that students celebrate their special day with pencils, pens, stickers or “silly socks,” the Patriot-News reports.
“There are reasons to eliminate birthday treats,” McFarland said. “We’re trying to teach healthy eating.”
While the federal school food restrictions only apply to foods purchased at school, Lynwood school leaders took it upon themselves to extend the restriction to birthday cupcakes, as well.
Instead of tasty cupcakes, students can now celebrate their birthdays with gift pencils, origami frogs and extra recess time. Yay.
“The federal rule applies only to food sold to students, not given away. The Edmonds School District (Wellness Committee) took it a step further by banning food at birthday celebrations,” according to the Herald.
In Coweta, school officials initially blamed a ban on birthday cupcakes and other baked goods brought from home on “new national health/food regulations,” but later backpedaled and blamed the move on “safety,” the Times Herald reports.