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Federal Mandate Wastes Food

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 20, 2012

One of the myriad of recent federal mandates is leading to an unintended consequence; food being wasted and thrown out.  This mandate, The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, is purported to promote healthier eating habits in the Country’s youth and help curb childhood obesity.

The USDA standard now requires that public schools serve twice as many fruits and vegetables, along with other requirements.  Should a school not comply, it will lose their federal reimbursement for school lunches, which typically equals about $.85 per lunch, per student.  Like most federal mandates, it is missing a key component to be successful.  While it mandates what schools must put on their food trays, it does not mandate what students must eat.  The result, some students are either giving the food other students, or worse still, throw it away, as reported by the Allentown Morning Call.

On the one hand, this is another example of government creating mandates that are costly and do not achieve the desired goals.  However, there is a more sinister issue.  These mandates are often created as part of government’s crony capitalism.  Some business interest is typically served under the guise government advancing some noble cause.


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