The Times West Virginian


January 13, 2013

Should government take more control over food?

I found my daughter standing in front of the fridge one day, hands on hips and face screwed into a sour look.

“What’s wrong?” I asked a little panicked.

“I’m trying to understand why they would ruin pigs in a blanket!” she shouted, stomping out of the kitchen.

As she flew out of the room, I looked at the school menu hanging in its regular place on the refrigerator. There was her grief ... whole-wheat pigs in a blanket. Once she calmed down, I asked what her issue was with whole wheat pigs in a blanket.

“First they took away my apple juice, Mom, and now everything is whole wheat. What’s next?!?!?”

Yes, she’s quite dramatic. And yes, she is that upset about not having the apple juice option. And true to her anger, she protests whenever anything “whole wheat” is on the menu by bringing cold lunch. I’ll pack her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat bread, honey wheat and not whole wheat though. And she’ll get a 100 percent juice box, a piece of fruit, a few chips and a little something sweet. And she’s asked for cold lunch a lot this year.

At first, I was touched because I believed it was because of the little handwritten notes of love and encouragement I always place in her lunch box with the napkin. But I’ve come to realize it’s more about the new nutritional guidelines than anything else.

And schools are working under tighter guidelines for nutrition. At the start of the school year, the USDA made very strict guidelines for caloric and sodium intake, as well as increasing the servings of fruits and vegetables. Sorry Jayme, but apple juice probably doesn’t count. Originally, failing to meet these guidelines would have put school districts as risk for getting that all-important federal subsidy per meal, which keeps the hot lunch programs going nationwide. But lot of kids, more than just my little girl, and lots of parents are fighting against these new standards and say the change should have been more gradual.

Could be that it is a way to fight the obesity crisis in this nation, which adds $190 billion to federal funded medical programs and kills 400,000 people per year. And considering that for far too many children, meals eaten at school constitute the only nutritious food they consume all week, it’s understandable that wanting to establish good eating habits in the young will create a generation of adults who value whole grain and lots of fruits and vegetables.

Or, it will just create a generation of Jaymes, who would rather pack their lunches, which aren’t regulated at all.

First New York City and now other metropolitan cities are considering a ban on “supersize” drinks, outlawing the sale of drinks larger than 16 ounces. So it begs the question ... “Do you think the federal government should take a bigger role in the sale and consumption of ‘junk’ food?” And that’s exactly the question we asked our readers on our online poll question, which can be found each week at And here’s what you had to say:

• Establishing good eating habits in schools with federally funded lunches and warning consumers about fat and caloric intake just aren’t enough. Ban super sizing — 8.49 percent

• Education, research and marketing better food habits are effective. We need time to change our lifestyle — 13.21 percent

• I don’t want to live in a country where Big Brother watches the food that goes in your mouth — 78.3 percent

Good luck prying our large pops out of our hands, right?

This week, let’s talk about the thing on everyone’s mind ... who’s the best person to go up against Shelley Moore Capito now that U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller has announced that he will not seek another term in the Senate in 2014.

Log on. Vote. Email me or respond directly online.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor


Text Only
  • COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay

    Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.

    April 20, 2014

  • The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings

    During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.

    April 20, 2014

  • Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated

    Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
    During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.

    April 18, 2014

  • Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives

    A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
    Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
    The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.

    April 17, 2014

  • State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary

    Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
    For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
    Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better

    When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
    So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.

    April 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable

    That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
    But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
    Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!

    April 13, 2014

  • Decision to be an organ donor can save lives

    Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
    So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.

    April 11, 2014

  • Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community

    Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
    Marion County is full of volunteers.
    They read to our youth.
    They assist nonprofit agencies.
    They serve on boards and committees.
    And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.

    April 10, 2014

  • Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law

    West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.

    April 9, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads