EDITORIAL: Keep agendas out of food pyramid

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services update the nation’s dietary recommendations. They work together to create school and military menus, as well as tweak the widely used “food pyramid.”

This year, for the first time, the government considered environmental issues — primarily those associated with the production of beef — in putting together its recommendations. A panel of climate change alarmists masquerading as nutritionists warned that eating beef was bad for both humans and the environment, and a food fight over “sustainable” diets ensued.

The panel was excited that the idea of eating “sustainably” might actually make it all the way to school lunchrooms. Thankfully, critics and members of Congress pushed back, saying that not only did the panel have no business injecting environmental issues into the discussion, but that they weren’t even qualified to do so.

The fact that Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture pursued this idea for so long shows how politicized everything has become in Washington, and it highlights the absurd lengths the environmental movement will go to indoctrinate Americans to their economically destructive, authoritarian way of thinking.

These environmental considerations come on the heels of the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act,” a 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture requirement aggressively promoted by first lady Michelle Obama that requires students to select either a fruit or vegetable when eating school lunches subsidized by the federal government. According to a new report by researchers at the University of Vermont, students did, indeed, add more fruits and vegetables to their plates following implementation of the USDA rule, but they consumed fewer fruits and vegetables. Why? During more than 20 visits to two different northeastern elementary schools, researchers observed that students were throwing away most of their fruits and vegetables. Researchers say that since the new rule was enforced, the average amount of school food waste has increased from a quarter cup to more than one-third of a cup per tray. The findings back up criticism from school officials and parents who say that the program is difficult to implement, unappetizing to students and wasteful.

All of this should serve as a reminder: Parents, not schools or the federal government, are best suited to decide what children eat.

Those responsible for shaping the food pyramid have until the end of the year to put together their recommendations. Here’s some advice for them: Leave agendas out of it.

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