by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Elizabeth Harrington reports for the Washington Free Beacon on one unintended consequence of First Lady Michelle Obama’s school lunch crusade.
Hundreds of school districts in the country have made layoffs and reduced hours for cafeteria workers due to First Lady Michelle Obama’s lunch rules, a new survey has found.
Participation in the school lunch program is down, food waste is up, and 80 percent of districts have taken steps to offset financial losses as a result of the healthy rules, according to a survey released Tuesday of more than 1,000 school districts by the Student Nutritional Association (SNA).
“Our waste has increased dramatically,” said one district foodservice employee on the effects of the standards. “It is shameful the food we throw away. We have the healthiest garbage!”
More than half (57.7 percent) of school districts said participation in the school lunch program “somewhat” or “significantly” declined since the standards went into effect in 2012, and the vast majority of schools are having trouble financially.
“Despite efforts to promote healthier choices, there is clear consensus with regard to the impact of federal nutrition standards for meals and snacks: nearly seven of every 10 respondents say that the standards have been harmful to their program’s financial health since inception of the standards in 2012,” the SNA said. “Fewer than 3 percent report a benefit to their program’s financial heath from the standards, with the balance reporting either no impact or are unsure.”
As a result of the rules, districts have had to make layoffs and reduce hours for foodservice employees.