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Food Police Follow Up: Reporter Who Broke School Lunch Story That Sparked National Debate Speaks Out

It’s the story that sparked outrage across the country! Yesterday, we told you about a 4-year-old North Carolina girl whose home-packed lunch was deemed unsuitable by an inspector at her school. The inspector said her turkey sandwich wasn’t healthy enough and gave her a school lunch instead … which consisted of chicken nuggets! Now, the reporter who broke the story is speaking out.

Sara Burrows of the Carolina Journal joined America Live with the latest details.

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Burrows said that it still isn’t clear who the inspector was who deemed this little girl’s lunch was unhealthy, but that it was an agent from the Department of Health and Human Services at the state level. Apparently a division within the department comes to the school every year to conduct an evaluation related to the More at Four program, which is a North Carolina state program.

Burrows said, “As part of the evaluation, they look at students lunches that are brought from home to make sure that they meet USDA guidelines. And this school, we’re told, lost points this year because too many children were bringing their lunches from home and they did not meet, according to this inspector, the USDA guidelines.”

When asked if the program gives the school, or the state, the power to overrule parents regarding what their children eat, Burrows clarified, “Ultimately, the children can eat what their parents pack for them, but if they do not have the four food groups, they are supposed to be supplemented with the items that they are missing. In this case, the children were given cafeteria trays and told that their lunches didn’t meet the standards.”

Burrows has been in touch with the little girl’s family, and says that they were upset enough by the incident that both the mother and the grandmother contacted their state representative.

When asked whether the “lunch police” might be taking over cafeterias throughout the country, Burrows said she’d have to look into it, “I’d assume that anyone who had these More at Four programs would have to abide by the USDA guidelines on the lunches.”

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