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Mama Moochelle knows best — but schools struggle to meet Obama’s new lunch rules

Michelle knows best — but schools struggle to meet Obama’s new lunch rules

By Andrew Phillips-Washington Guardian Moochelle
Schools are having a difficult time meeting new federal requirements for leaner student lunches championed by First Lady Michelle Obama and in some cases are adding less healthy foods to meet calorie limits, investigators have found.

The problems are so widespread that the Government Accountability Office is recommending that the Agriculture Department ease or change some requirements to avoid the unexpected consequences of Mrs. Obama’s signature effort to address childhood obesity.

“Because of the meat and grain maximums, some districts made menu decisions that are inconsistent with the goal of improving children’s diets, as they added desserts and condiments that increased the amount of sugar, salt or fat in lunches in order to comply with the required calorie minimums,” the GAO reported in the first substantial review of how school districts are implementing school lunch requirements under child nutrition laws passed by Congress in 2010.

GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, spot checked several schooldistricts and found schools, food distributors and students are all facing challenges.“School districts faced several challenges implementing the new lunch requirements in school year 2012-2013, according to the eight districts GAO visited and food service and industry officials GAO interviewed from across the country,” the watchdog agency said.

The problems are so widespread that the Government Accountability Office is recommending that the Agriculture Department ease or change some requirements to avoid the unexpected consequences of Mrs. Obama’s signature effort to address childhood obesity.

The regulations are even leading some schools to substitute healthy food for less-healthy options to meet the requirements:

•Shredded cheese is being replaced with processed cheese sauce because the sauce is not considered a meat alternative.

•Pudding, gelatin, ice cream, butter and ranch dressing are added to meals to meet minimum calorie requirements.

•Whole grain chips are replaced with potato chips because potatoes aren’t considered a grain.

The meat and grain limits have been temporarily suspended, but are slated to start again next year. The GAO recommended the regulations be removed permanently.

The Agriculture Department agreed that a permanent decision is needed, and said it is launching its own review of the new lunches policies.

“USDA also expressed concern that the findings in the testimony did not reflect a nationally representative sample of school districts,” the report said.

Meanwhile, some students haven’t been accepting of the new regulations. The GAO said lunch items such as sub rolls, tortillas and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are being cut back or abolished completely, while food suppliers were forced to create a hamburger patty small enough to stay under the meat maximum requirements. Whole-grain pasta and legumes are replacing the foods.

Such changes led some schools to report a significant decrease in students who ate lunches, and at one school students even led a 3-week boycott of school meals, the GAO said.

Some student athletes reported the new lunches left them hungry, and teachers have complained that students were significantly more tired during the last two periods of the day because of the new lunches.
The way schools determine what amount of meat, grains, vegetables and total calories each student should receive is by dividing them into three groups based on grade level — kindergarten through fifth grade, sixth grade through eighth grade, and ninth grade through 12th grade. Under the current rules, height and weight are never taken into consideration.
USDA said that while it faces challenges in providing nutrition based on height and weight, a child’s age was still one of the most important factors in determining their food requirements, a statement echoed by nutritional experts.
Healthy eating advocates say the new regulations will help fight childhood obesity, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say has doubled in the last 30 years – and tripled among teenagers.
Mrs. Obama recently visited a school in Alexandria, Va., to show off the final product of the school lunch revamping she helped crusade.
“That’s why as a mom myself, I am so excited that schools will now be offering healthier choices to students and reinforcing the work we do at home to help our kids stay healthy,” the first lady said.
The GAO said that many of the early problems are growing pains and will be resolved over time. Investigators noted many students had positive things to say about the greater number of vegetables and smaller portion sizes, and they expect that number to grow over time.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/1/schools-struggle-to-meet-obamas-new-lunch-rules-se/?page=2#ixzz2Y6uQvnhd
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Nanny Bloomberg Gets Told -Bloomberg Refused Second Slice of Pizza at Local Restaurant

NannyBloomberg

BLOOMBERG-NANNY-570New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was denied a second slice of pizza today at an Italian eatery in Brooklyn.

The owners of Collegno’s Pizzeria say they refused to serve him more than one piece to protest Bloomberg’s proposed soda ban,which would limit the portions of soda sold in the city.

Bloomberg was having an informal working lunch with city comptroller John Liu at the time and was enraged by the embarrassing prohibition. The owners would not relent, however, and the pair were forced to decamp to another restaurant to finish their meal.

Witnesses say the situation unfolded when as the two were looking over budget documents, they realized they needed more food than originally ordered.

“Hey, could I get another pepperoni over here?” Bloomberg asked owner Antonio Benito.

“I’m sorry sir,” he replied, “we can’t do that. You’ve reached your personal slice limit.”

Stop and Tisk
Mayor Bloomberg, not accustomed to being challenged, assumed that the owner was joking.

“OK, that’s funny,” he remarked, “because of the soda thing … No come on. I’m not kidding. I haven’t eaten all morning, just send over another pepperoni.”

“I’m sorry sir. We’re serious,” Benito insisted. “We’ve decided that eating more than one piece isn’t healthy for you, and so we’re forbidding you from doing it.”

“Look jackass,” Bloomberg retorted, his anger boiling, “I fucking skipped breakfast this morning just so I could eat four slices of your pizza. Don’t be a schmuck, just get back to the kitchen and bring out some fucking pizza, okay.”

“I’m sorry sir, there’s nothing I can do,” the owner repeated. “Maybe you could go to several restaurants and get one slice at each. At least that way you’re walking. You know, burning calories.”

Witnesses say a fuming Bloomberg and a bemused Liu did indeed walk down the street to a rival pizzeria , ordered another slice and finished their meeting.

New York’s so-called “soda ban” would have limited the size of sweetened beverages served in restaurants to 16 oz (0.5 liters). The plan, backed by Mayor Bloomberg, is currently being held up by a U.S. district court.

Bloomberg has been the mayor of New York City since 2002. Theretofore he was the CEO of Bloomberg LP, the world’s leading financial data firm. His personal fortune is estimated at around $27 billion.

WE HAVE A SLICK NANNY

Nanny

Nasty Leftist Surprises Lurk in Mayor 'Nanny' Bloomberg's Sugary Drink Ban: You Won't Believe This

Mayor PoppinsBy BRAD HAMILTON and SUSAN EDELMAN

NY Post

Take a big gulp, New York: Hizzoner is about to give you a pop.

Nanny Bloomberg unleashes his ban on large sodas on March 12 — and there are some nasty surprises lurking for hardworking families.

Say goodbye to that 2-liter bottle of Coke with your pizza delivery, pitchers of soft drinks at your kid’s birthday party and some bottle-service mixers at your favorite nightclub.

They’d violate Mayor Bloomberg’s new rules, which prohibit eateries from serving or selling sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.

Bloomberg’s soda smackdown follows his attacks on salt, sugar, trans fat, smoking and even baby formula.a
Angel Chevrestt
LESS SODA, MORE DOUGH: If you order a pizza, you cannot get a large bottle of soda delivered with it. Already, Domino’s locations across the city are doing away with 1 and 2 liter bottles of soda, deliveryman Philippe Daniba says. They’ll sell smaller bottles instead — costing you more money and increasing plastic waste.
NANNY MIKE’S CAN’T-DO ATTITUDE

The city Health Department last week began sending brochures to businesses that would be affected by the latest ban, including restaurants, bars and any “food service” establishment subject to letter grades.

And merchants were shocked to see the broad sweep of the new rules.

“It’s not fair. If you’re gonna tell me what to do, it’s no good,” said Steve DiMaggio of Caruso’s in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. “It’s gonna cost a lot more.”

And consumers, especially families, will soon see how the rules will affect their wallets — forcing them to pay higher unit prices for smaller bottles.

Typically, a pizzeria charges $3 for a 2-liter bottle of Coke. But under the ban, customers would have to buy six 12-ounce cans at a total cost of $7.50 to get an equivalent amount of soda.

“I really feel bad for the customers,” said Lupe Balbuena of World Pie in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

Domino’s on First Avenue and 74th Street on the Upper East Side is doing away with its most popular drink sizes: the 20-ounce and 2-liter bottles.

“We’re getting in 16-ounce bottles — and that’s all we’re going to sell,” a worker said.

He said the smaller bottles will generate more revenue for the restaurant but cost consumers more.

It will also trash more plastic into the environment.

Deliveryman Philippe Daniba said he had brought countless 2-liter bottles of soda to customers over his 19 years at the restaurant. The ban, he said, “doesn’t make sense.”

Industry-group officials agreed.

“It’s ludicrous,” said Robert Bookman, a lawyer for the New York City Hospitality Alliance. “It’s a sealed bottle of soda you can buy in the supermarket. Why can’t they deliver what you can get in the supermarket?”

Families will get pinched at kid-friendly party places, which will have to chuck their plastic pitchers because most hold 60 ounces — even though such containers are clearly intended for more than one person.

Changes will be made at the Frames bowling alley in Times Square, where 26-ounce pitchers are served at kids’ parties, said manager Ayman Kamel.

“We’re going to try to get creative,” he said, noting drinks with 100 percent juice are exempt from the ban.

“We’re figuring out a way to have freshly squeezed juice for the birthday parties. We might have to raise the price about a dollar or so.”

Dallas BBQ at 1265 Third Ave. will retire its 60-ounce pitchers and 20-ounce glasses, manager Daisy Reyes said.

“We have to buy new glasses,” she said. “We’re in the process.”
And if you’re looking for a night of bottle service at a Manhattan hot spot, be warned: Spending $300 on a bottle of vodka no longer entitles you to a full complement of mixers.
If you get bottle service at a city nightclub or restaurant, you cannot also get a carafe of cranberry juice like the one hostess Maggie is serving up here at Le Souk Harem in the West Village. Tonic water and other beverages are also limited, even though they are only used as mixers.
sodapopped4.C.TA--525x525

The carafes in which mixers are typically served hold 32 ounces, and the most common mixers — sodas, cranberry juice and tonic water — will be limited. Only water and 100 percent juice will be unlimited.

“Oh, my God. Seriously?” said Lamia Sunti, owner of the swanky West Village club Le Souk Harem. “It’s not like one person is going to be drinking the whole carafe. It’s silly.”

The rules are hard to unravel.

Alcoholic drinks and diet sodas are not subject to the ban, nor are fruit smoothies if they don’t have added sweetener, or coffee drinks and milkshakes if made with 50 percent milk.

But what about drinks with small amounts of added sugar? Vendors must determine if the beverages have more than 3.125 calories per ounce.

But they should double-check their math: Violations cost $200 each.

brad.hamilton@nypost.com

Protecting Against Mass Murder -Part 1

MOOCHELLE OBAMA SAYS SANTA CLAUSE PROMOTES DIABETES

by Ibrahim al-Lincoln, official Muslim Civil War re-enactor

Thursday, December 6, 2012,

(WASHINGTON) —Old Saint Nick better think twice about downing the cookies and milk this Christmas. If not, the Obama administration may just have him banned (beating New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the punch, undoubtedly).

Well, perhaps not “banned,” literally. However it has become obvious where First Lady Michelle Obama stands on Ol’ Kris Kringle.

Speaking to reporters shortly before the White House’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting Thursday evening, Mrs. Obama declared Santa Claus one of the “chief promoters of diabetes and heart disease” in the United States, if not the world, saying the gift-givers’ obesity gives a “green light” for children to eat fattening foods like cookies, candy, and whole milk to their hearts’ content (and content).

“It’s time we ask ourselves: how many people would be alive today had they not believed in Santa Claus as children?” First Lady told reporters and attending school children on the White House’s Ellipse. “How healthy would Americans be today had they not accepted the example Santa has set for generations: that being overweight equals being jolly? …Really, how many people has Santa Claus killed?”

Obama added, “Santa Claus is a killer, no doubt. His example of ‘fat jolliness’ has helped lead millions to early deaths. It’s time we did away with his harmful example.”

National health organizations such as the America Heart Association and America Diabetes Association agree with Mrs. Obama, seconding her message that Claus’ weight is a top reason Americans have grown so comfortable growing over the years. “Mrs. Obama is right, Santa Claus is a deadly menace to us all, especially children,” said AHA President Gordon F. Tomaselli, PhD. “There is no ‘jolliness’ in being overweight, particularly when you’re eternally elderly, like Santa Claus. Let the children of today think about that…because imagining you’re old and fat is so easy for children ten years old and younger.”

Ordinary Americans are reacting to Mrs. Obama’s denouncing of Santa’s weight as well. Millions of e-mails have already flooded the White House (according to the White House), agreeing with Michelle Obama’s condemnation of Santa. Albany, New York resident Megan Neidsum said she is one of thousands of parents across America who does not want her children believing in Santa due to the negative perception his weight and Ho-Ho-Ho attitude promote. Nonetheless, says Neidsum, other classmates of “less concerned or enlightened guardians” still coerced her children to at least admire the 310-pound Claus; an attitude just as treacherous as actually believing Old St. Nick is real, according to the 39-year-old yoga pioneer and owner of All Bean-ee Yoga, the first yoga studio in Albany make its attendees eat a bowl of beans before each yoga class.

Said Neidsum to Duh Progressive, Thursday, “I tried my best, but my kids’ classmates still told them about Santa. We wanted Presley and Dawson not to believe in (Santa) precisely because of his weight. Now, if Santa was like a Ryan Gosling-looking Santa, then that’d be another thing —I’d still believe in him! He could visit me all he’d like in that case…visit me so hard and good!”

Television celebrities are also condemning the “deadly example” Mrs. Obama says Santa Claus has been setting throughout generations. The Learning Channel’s astute June Shannon, mother of the network’s “Honey Boo Boo” (from its show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, to be seen…never) has also spoke out against Santa Claus, decrying his weight as the reason she and her daughter are total fat, trashy pieces of humanoid waste. Said a saddened Shannon, Thursday, “Like, my daughter an’ me lovzus some San’a Claus-n-all, but Amafraid her heart jus’ plodin’ up like a han’ grenade from all that fat food his weight an’ big ol’ red suit makes her wanna eat.”

For parents like Shannon and millions of others, First Lady Michelle Obama’s quest for them not to teach their children to believe in Santa due to his obesity is sound advice, even if it has come too late to prevent their kids from being unsightly obnoxious slobs. Added Mrs. Obama, Thursday, “Parents, if you must have your children believe in Santa —which you shouldn’t, if you can help it— please have them ‘help’ Santa this year by leaving out an apple or celery for him to eat, not milk and cookies.”

Sobbed a distraught June Shannon, cradling her daughter as she recovered from a routine bout of Iuvenis Narcissimus Futilitas, “Damn ol’ Santa Claus, keep thinkin’ he git away wit doin’ dis to our kids, keep leadin’ dem to diabese-n-all. Jus’ ain’t right, y’know? Goddern Santa be’s asbescain’ an’ trickin’ and akndndha, abudua a duh buh dee dbe my Honey Boo Boo aspghspha gaba yabba-dabba-do!”
______________________________________________________________________
NOTE: And to just think if Honey Boo Boo and her mother just had a bit more melanin in their skin, we’d be called racists for criticizing them. Damn you, Santa Claus!

WEAR RADIO CHIP OR LEAVE, SCHOOL TELLS STUDENTS

by Jack Minor

Brushing aside privacy concerns by parents and civil rights activists, a Texas school district has gone live with a controversial program requiring all students to wear a locator radio chip that will enable officials to track their every move – or face expulsion.

At the beginning of the school year students at John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School within the Northside Independent School District were told their old student ID badges were no longer valid. During registration they were required to obtain new badges containing a radio frequency identification tracker chip.

Students refusing the chips were reportedly threatened with suspension, fines, or being involuntary transferred. Unlike chips used by retailers to track inventory which activate when scanned by a reader, these chips contain batteries and actively broadcast a continuous signal.

On October 1, the schools went live with a program to use the chips to track the exact locations of students using the badges. The badges would even be able to tell if a student in a classroom is in his seat or somewhere else in the room.

The district’s stated reason is to help obtain funding from the state by documenting the number of students who attend the school.

WOAI television reported district spokesman Pasqual Gonzalez said the two schools have a high rate of truancy, and the district could gain $2 million in state funding by improving attendance.

According to the San Antonio newspaper, the program is expected to cost the district $526,065 to implement with annual cost of $136,005 per year to continue running the program.

However, a counselor at the school told Steve Hernandez, a parent whose daughter Andrea is a sophomore at John Jay, that the district currently does not have any single person assigned to monitor the location of students or track the data.

“That destroys the argument that the purpose to track students for attendance purposes,” Hernandez said. “How are they supposed to safeguard privacy concerns if no one is responsible for its administration?”

The website ChipFreeSchools.com cites health concerns over the chips and includes a position paper from groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Big Brother Watch, Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, Constitutional Alliance, Freedom Force International, Friends of Privacy USA, the Identity Project and Privacy Activism said no students should be subjected to the “chipping” program “unless there is sufficient evidence of its safety and effectiveness.”

“Children should never be used as test subjects for technology, no matter what their socio-economic status. If schools choose to move forward without complete information and are willing to accept the associated liability, they should have provisions in place to adhere to the principles of fair information practices and respect individuals’ rights to opt out based on their conscientious and religious objections,” the statement said.

The paper said RFID tracking is dehumanizing, since it can “monitor how long a student or teacher spends in a bathroom stall.”

The plans also violate free speech and association, since the presence of a tracking device “could dissuade individuals from exercising their rights to freedom of thought, speech and association. For example, students might avoid seeking counsel when they know their RFID tags will document their presence at locations like counselor and School Resource Officer offices.”

Andrea Hernandez has refused to wear the new badge citing religious and privacy concerns. She said that since the policy went into effect several students have engaged in civil disobedience by leaving their badges at home. However, Hernandez has been wearing her old badge to school in an attempt to have some form of ID.

While the district has not yet expelled any students for refusing to wear the badges, Hernandez has already faced consequences for her refusal to take the chip.

“About two weeks ago when I went to cast my vote for homecoming king and queen I had a teacher tell me I would not be allowed to vote because I did not have the proper voter ID,” she explained. “I had my old student ID card which they originally told us would be good for the entire four years we were in school. He said I needed the new ID with the chip in order to vote.”

In an attempt to obtain legal help, Andrea’s father, Steve Hernandez reached out to the American Civil Liberties Union, but was rebuffed because organization officials didn’t feel Andrea’s religious concerns would advance their core mission.

In an email to Hernandez, Rebecca Robertson with the ACLU of Texas told him, “the ACLU of Texas will not be able to represent you or your daughter in this matter.”

In citing its reasons for refusing to take the case Robertson said among the factors they use to decide to take a case are whether it “has the potential to achieve broad and lasting advances in civil liberties” and as such, Andrea’s case does not apparently meet that threshold.

WND requests to the district for comment were not returned.

In an October 2 letter, Deputy Superintendent Ray Galindo said he was willing to let Hernandez wear a badge without the chip, but then goes on to portray the issue as one of her refusing to wear any type of ID.

“We are simply asking your daughter to wear an ID badge as every other student and adult on the Jay campus is asked to do.”

Galindo went on to suggest there would be consequences if she did not agree to wear the new badge.

“I urge you to accept this solution so that your child’s instructional program will not be affected. As we discussed, there will be consequences for refusal to wear an ID card as we begin to move forward with full implementation.”

Steve Hernandez said the so-called accommodation actually came with other strings attached.

“He told me in a meeting that if my daughter would proudly wear her student ID card around her neck so everyone could see, he would be able to quietly remove her chip from her student ID card,” Hernandez explained. “He went on to say as part of the accommodation my daughter and I would have to agree to stop criticizing the program and publicly support … it. I told him that was unacceptable because it would imply an endorsement of the district’s policy and my daughter and I should not have to give up our constitutional rights to speak out against a program that we feel is wrong.”

Andrea Hernandez said that since she has begun taking the stand she has been surprised by how many students agree with her.

“On Monday a group of students came up to me in the lunch room asking me about the chips after they saw me appear on television,” she said. “I got the majority to understand there were legitimate reasons for not wearing the badge. Many of them thanked me, saying they were uncomfortable with wearing them, but were unsure how to explain why they should not have to wear them.”

She went on to say while some students have said they didn’t have a problem wearing the badges, she is not aware of any who enthusiastically support the program.

Heather Fazio, executive director of Texans for Accountable Government, said the district has not been willing to take steps to listen to parent’s concerns over the chips.

“The school board refuses to put it on the agenda or hold a forum where the matter can be debated publicly,” Fazio said. “Parents are allowed to speak to the board on any item not on the agenda, but the board is under no obligation to respond to what is being said. When we mentioned our concerns to them, they looked at us with indifference.”

Highlighting the dangers the chips pose to student privacy issues even while off campus, Fazio said she was able to get list containing the names and addresses of all of the students in the district by filing a Freedom of Information Request.

“After paying a $30 fee with the FOIA request I was able to get every student’s name and address,” Fazio explained. “Using this information along with an RFID reader means a predator could use this information to determine if the student is at home and then track them wherever they go. These chips are always broadcasting so anyone with a reader can track them anywhere.”

Andrea says while the school has not yet taken any retaliatory action, she is concerned that there will come a time when they will decide to retaliate.

“It is just a matter of time before they write me up and expel me. This would put a big black mark on my record if this were to happen, but I don’t feel I should be punished for standing up for my religious rights and privacy issues.”

She said, “In order to get into the Science and Engineering Academy I had to have good grades, great attendance, and be in pre-AP [advanced placement] classes. I had to fill out an application and write an essay about why I would be a good student. Now they want to take the education that I have worked so hard for away from me because I refuse to wear a tracker.”

USDA wants parents to impose Queen Michelle diet at home.

Once again, the liberal controlled government is talking down to American citizens. They are acting like we are nothing more than mindless blobs incapable of knowing what a well-balanced meal looks like. While school children are protesting the horrid lunches they are not being served in schools, the liberal controled government is demanding that we treat our children just as badly as they do.
Michelle Obama’s plan to make children eat healthier is a miserable failure, not that she will ever admit it. It won’t be long until liberals are blaming parents for not supporting her plan by making their children eat the trash she insists schools feed them.
Gov’t Urges Parents to Use School Lunches As a Model for Family Dinner

By Susan Jones | cnsnews

Government-approved school meals as a model for the family dinner table?Responding to concerns that students are throwing away the healthy food on their cafeteria trays, the U.S. Department of Agriculture acknowledged that adapting to the changes “may be challenging at first, as students are introduced to new flavors and foods in the cafeteria.”
But the government also says parents can help school make the taste-transition easier:

“We know that many parents are already making changes at home to help the whole family eat healthier,” the USDA blogged on Monday. “We recommend reviewing school menus with kids at home and working to incorporate foods that are being served at school into family meals as much as possible.”

A New Era of Prohibition: The Rise of the Californian Nanny State

by Troy Senik

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells his listeners that a man with a beam in his eye ought not to criticize another with a mere speck in his. The message: sort out your own crippling shortcomings before presuming to meddle in someone else’s. It’s good advice for an individual; it would be even better advice for the state of California. Good counsel, however, has a way of falling on deaf ears in the Golden State. While lawmakers have found themselves incapable of dealing with crippling budget deficits, a public-pension liability that hovers around a half-trillion dollars, and a business environment consistently ranked as the nation’s worst, they’ve decided that the state’s most pressing problem is its people—specifically, their culinary eccentricities.
On July 1, the state with the nation’s largest economy ushered in a new era of prohibition, banning the sale of foie gras, a French delicacy made out of the intentionally fattened liver of a duck or goose. As anyone who has ever patronized a Sacramento tavern while the legislature is in session knows, this is perhaps the first time in recorded history that state lawmakers regarded hepatic dysfunction as cause for alarm.
The ban was a long time coming. Like many of California’s logic-starved but passion-distended nanny state impulses, it traces its origins to the era of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the bill into law in 2004. As written, the law’s apologists point out, the statute isn’t quite an outright prohibition; it simply makes illegal within state borders the sale or production of foie gras produced by force-feeding the birds—the only method that has ever brought widespread success. The nearly eight-year window between passage and implementation was intended to allow time to develop alternative methods of production. Outlawing proven business models while waiting for a superior alternative to emerge from whole cloth is what passes for cultivating entrepreneurialism in California.
Still, leaving aside the economics, it’s difficult not to feel at least fleeting sympathy with the animal activists who decry the practice as inhumane. Referring to the methods used to fatten the birds, John Burton, the former state senator who authored the legislation (and who now serves as chairman of the California Democratic Party), recently said, “I’d like to sit [the opponents of the ban] down and have duck and goose fat—better yet, dry oatmeal—shoved down their throats over and over and over again.”
Burton would have a point if his analogy were more accurate and less mean-spirited. The reality for the birds, however, is considerably different. These fowl don’t possess anything resembling a human gag reflex, as their windpipes actually open in the center of their tongues, meaning they’re not choking during the seconds-long feeding process (these are the same animals, remember, that can regularly be seen swallowing large fish whole in the wild). In fact, it’s not atypical for ducks and geese to come to the feeding tubes voluntarily once they’re conditioned for it. Nor is the gorging especially alien to the birds, who naturally engage in the practice when preparing for migration. California’s sole foie gras producer, Artisan Sonoma Foie Gras (which will have to close its doors and put more than 35 people out of work), was hardly a model of inhumane treatment, either. A family business started by immigrants fleeing El Salvador’s civil war, Artisan allowed its ducks to roam free-range for most of their lives, refused to give them hormones or antibiotics, and, according to its website, kept them “in groups of about 10–12 ducks per pen measuring about 30 square feet.” This was hardly a scenario from the pages of Upton Sinclair.
Unfortunately, Guillermo Gonzales, Artisan Sonoma’s owner, succumbed to pressure to support the Burton bill in 2004 after a provision was added granting his company immunity from civil lawsuits—the only outcome he thought would avert financial ruin for his family (animal-rights groups had been taking Gonzales to court on a regular basis). With that hurdle overcome, the law looked to be on a glide path to implementation. But the legislature didn’t count on another wellspring of opposition: the chefs, restaurants, and foodies whose opposition to the ban was visceral.
In late June, as implementation of the law neared, a remarkable phenomenon took place throughout California: in what was known colloquially as the “foiepocalypse,” restaurants up and down the state saw demand for foie gras skyrocket. One San Francisco steakhouse offered up an eight-course, $185 foie gras feast the night before the ban took effect. Private foie gras parties were held at secret locations to avoid animal-rights protesters. Prices soared to the point that Gonzales was selling his product at $60 per pound (a nearly 35 percent increase from the prior month). Needless to say, animal-rights activists were appalled; but they probably would have gotten over it had the festivities truly sounded the death knell for foie gras.
No such luck. As soon as the law took effect, New York–based Hudson Valley Foie Gras (the nation’s largest producer) and a Los Angeles restaurant group filed a lawsuit against California in federal court. Though the judge denied a request for an emergency injunction, the case will move forward in late August.
Meantime, California has seen a remarkable blooming of culinary civil disobedience. The Presidio Social Club in San Francisco unapologetically put foie gras on the menu. Management’s rationale: as a part of the National Park Service, the Presidio is bound by federal, not state, laws. When public pressure mounted, the Presidio removed the item from the menu—but the restaurant’s executive chef stated publicly that foie gras would be available on request. Eateries without legal rationales as convenient as the Presidio’s have opted for more creative methods. Since the law prohibits only the sale of foie gras, not its distribution, stories of restaurants like Playground in Santa Ana—where buying a round of beer for the kitchen staff gets a “complimentary” serving of the delicacy delivered to your table—have been widespread. Still others are happy to prepare foie gras that customers bring in themselves.
The law’s language is so vague that most of this impishness is likely legal, presenting significant obstacles for prohibitionists. Animal-control and peace officers are authorized to enforce the law, but that understandably low priority has only been diminished by the legal ambiguities. Had they done their homework, California officials could have seen this coming. In 2006, Chicago became the first jurisdiction in the United States to ban foie gras. Within two years, the city council, with the strong backing of then-mayor Richard Daley, overwhelmingly repealed the ban in the face of similar defiance. Scofflaws were so commonplace that offending establishments had even earned a special sobriquet: “duckeasies.”
Having failed to take a lesson on the failures of excessive regulation from Chicago, California will likely learn from the Windy City’s example of repealing a law rather than seeing it so widely flouted. Many factors recommend that course of action. It would allow Guillermo Gonzales to return to the business that he and his wife spent nearly three decades building and to restore the jobs of his three dozen employees. It would take law enforcement out of the ridiculous position of trying to adjudicate what constitutes a “sale” of duck liver. And, most importantly, it would allow California to refocus on its most urgent concern: removing the beam from its eye.
(Troy Senik is senior editor at Ricochet and a senior fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom. Originally posted on City Journal.)

Autocratic Bloomberg Drives Nanny State into Hyper-Drive: Pushes Hospitals To Breast-feed, Hide Formula

By MARY KAY LINGE

The nanny state is going after moms.

Mayor Bloomberg is pushing hospitals to hide their baby formula behind locked doors so more new mothers will breast-feed.

Starting Sept. 3, the city will keep tabs on the number of bottles that participating hospitals stock and use — the most restrictive pro-breast-milk program in the nation.

Under the city Health Department’s voluntary Latch On NYC initiative, 27 of the city’s 40 hospitals have also agreed to give up swag bags sporting formula-company logos, toss out formula-branded tchotchkes like lanyards and mugs, and document a medical reason for every bottle that a newborn receives.
While breast-feeding activists applaud the move, bottle-feeding moms are bristling at the latest lactation lecture.

“If they put pressure on me, I would get annoyed,” said Lynn Sidnam, a Staten Island mother of two formula-fed girls, ages 4 months and 9 years. “It’s for me to choose.”

Under Latch On NYC, new mothers who want formula won’t be denied it, but hospitals will keep infant formula in out-of-the-way secure storerooms or in locked boxes like those used to dispense and track medications.

With each bottle a mother requests and receives, she’ll also get a talking-to. Staffers will explain why she should offer the breast instead.

“It’s the patient’s choice,” said Allison Walsh, of Beth Israel Medical Center. “But it’s our job to educate them on the best option.”

Lisa Paladino, of Staten Island University Hospital, said: “The key to getting more moms to breast-feed is making the formula less accessible. This way, the RN has to sign out the formula like any other medication. The nurse’s aide can’t just go grab another bottle.”

Some of the hospitals already operate under the formula lockdown.

“New York City is definitely ahead of the curve,” said Eileen DiFrisco, of NYU Langone Medical Center, where the breast-feeding rate has surged from 39 to 68 percent under the program.

Breast-feeding in the first weeks gives a baby a critical healthy start, many medical experts say. It helps the digestive system develop and protects the baby with the mother’s immunities. Nursing also helps the mother recover from childbirth.

But not everyone is convinced.

“They make formula for a reason, and the FDA makes sure it’s safe,” said Roxanne Schmidt, whose 14-month-old twins were fed with formula from birth. “Locking it up is just wrong.”

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