Nanny state says ‘no sweets’

The British nanny state is regulating the lunches parents pack for their children, reports Samizdata. Sandwiches are suspect. Snacks may be confiscated.

David Ashley, headmaster of Greenslade primary, says that pupils who bring in packed lunches “are allowed chocolate on a biscuit but not a Mars bar.” If such sweeties are spotted, parents are called in for a quiet word.

At Charlton Manor primary, the head, Tim Baker, says: “Children get stickers for healthy boxes … If a child brings in a chocolate bar, we take it out of the lunchbox and give it back to the parent at the end of the day.” Pupils give each other away, he confides: “They say, ‘Miss, he’s got sweets in his box’.”

The experts say parent-packed lunches tend to be nutritionally inferior to school cafeteria lunches, which are quite bad. Efforts to improve cafeteria food drive up the price, encouraging more parents to send their children with a lunchbox. (Apparently, the Brits aren’t brownbaggers.)

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  1. What if it were the child’s birthday? Would mom and dad get hauled up in front of the principal if they put a cupcake in there, to make their kid’s day a little more special?

    Or what about lack of raw vegetables? I could not (and cannot) tolerate eating most vegetables raw. What if the school system forced my mom to include them? Would the school have allowed me more “hall passes” so I could deal with the inevitable digestive outcome of trying to eat raw carrots and broccoli?

    I don’t know…I grew up in a household where there were cookies and cake. I had a cookie in my lunch nearly every day. And I’m still alive. And I don’t weigh 300 lbs. And my brother regularly ate mint-jelly sandwiches on white bread – and he’s now an elite bicycler.

    You know, I always expected that Brave New World was more likely to come “true” than 1984 (thinking of the test-tube, state-raised children). I just didn’t expect it this fast.

  2. Big Brother cares about your health!
    “All together now children!”
    “We love Big Brother!”

  3. Miss, he’s got sweets in his box

    I’d hate to be that kid on the playground. Not in the U.S. anyway.

  4. Foobarista says:

    The article discussed a general government disaster on several levels:

    1. Because schools outsourced their school lunch efforts to low-quality (and presumably low-cost) caterers, the food was both awful and lacking nutrition.

    2. So, the solution was to charge more for food, which would presumably be “better”.

    3. And since food got more expensive, many families opted to send school lunches instead of paying 1 pound or more (ie, $1.83) per day for lunch.

    4. Due to (3), and parents not sending the kids to school with food demanded by the State, the cupcake cops will be dispatched to “talk” to the parents when infractions are noticed…

    This story has so many socialist horrors at so many levels that it is amazing. Just to start with: a cafeteria operation should be able to make decent food for under $2/kid, and reasonably tasting food doesn’t need balsamic vinegar or high-end this and that.

    And ultimately, all this nanny-state silliness is ultimately rooted in the needs to control costs in the state-run health system: if the government is taking care of your medical issues, it will want to regulate your life to minimize its costs.

    “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help…”

  5. Indigo Warrior says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if dietary regulation for adults comes next.

  6. Wayne Martin says:

    > I wouldn’t be surprised if dietary
    > regulation for adults comes next.

    Once all smoking has been stopped, dietary control will have to be the next focus of these people. Baskin Robbins can look forward to multi-billion dollar class action law suits by the same “tobacco” lawyers who will be looking for new villains to fleece.

  7. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

    they can take my ice cream from me when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

    I do think the whole “lawsuit” issue is going to raise problems…probably parts of the food industry will be sued out of existence simply because some people wilfully fail to realize that eating a big mac and a large fries and a giant sized soft drink every single day isn’t exactly a healthy diet.

    the bad thing is, the other folks, the ones who maybe go out once a month to enjoy a pizza or an ice cream, may lose that opportunity.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Ha ha, well we’ll have to operate our own indulgent speakeasies. Meet at my place for illicit homemade ice cream once a month. Someone else will have to cover the pizza day. Maybe a McSpeakeasy for hamburgers?

  9. Anyway, who would put chocolate on a biscuit?

  10. Since biscuits in Britain are cookies, have a Twix, anyone??

    This is just going way too far down the socialist road for me. They put a Frenchman in jail in Scotland for spanking his kid for misbehaving. He didn’t even spank him hard!! The police tell the homeowners not to argue with the guys breaking in but to give them whatever they want. They sent an old man to jail for over a year because he shot a guy who broke into his farm house out in the country. They are going to rate the kids on their health and charge the parents if the kids vary too much from the norm.

    I would love to see them try to do this stuff in the red states. I think a few teachers would be in the hospital if they did – and rightly so IMNSHO.

  11. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    Just to spite the food cops, I’d pack tons of scones and clotted cream, tons of Cadbury bars and a shandy, to boot (just kidding about the shandy–get rid of the beer, keep the lemonade). There is no junk food as worthless as most British ‘cuisine’ anyway (having endured surprise-meat ‘pasties’ ,uber-greasy fish n chips, ploughman’s lunches, ad nauseum).

  12. Wayne Martin says:

    > we’ll have to operate our own
    > indulgent speakeasies.

    Maybe we could call them “sweet-easies”?

  13. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Dick, tell us, if a biscuit in England is a cookie, what is a cookie in England- and remember this is a family blog.

  14. What is a cookie in England?
    Informal term of address to the chap who makes your lunch.

    Bear in mind that very few of these government initiatives announced with such fanfair actually come to pass. Fortunately.