City's New Bake Sale Regulations OK Vending Machine Food, Prohibit Anything Made by Human Hands

Contraband materials, according to the city.
Contraband materials, according to the city.
Chow.com

Perhaps not as radically mean-spirited as penalizing a street vendor for a bathroom break nor as mind-blowingly stupid as the demand for a redesigned hot dog, the city's nine-month-old ban on fund-raising foods is still something of a buzz-kill to those possessing an eyedropper's worth of common sense.

But not enough of one, apparently, to prevent a city panel from voting tomorrow on whether or not to allow students to sell such nutritious food-like items as Pop Tarts and Doritos in place of homemade baked goods like cookies and zucchini bread.

As the Times reports, the proposed regulation is meant as a compromise between the city's concerns about obesity and the needs of students and parent groups who have traditionally used bake sales to raise money. The new rules would allow students to sell fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as any one of the 27 items on the city's list of "approved" foods.

Those approved foods must be contained in marked, single-serving packaging and not exceed 200 calories. They include such paragons of healthy living as corn-syrup enhanced Pop Tarts and Doritos Cool Ranch chips, which get their winsome hue from three kinds of food coloring. As the Times points out, many homemade goods don't actually surpass the school's mandated calorie cap -- a Duncan Hines brownie, for example, has 180 calories -- but because they don't come with nutritional information, they don't make the cut.

So, to review: Additive-filled, highly-processed vending machine effluence = good. Homemade, chemically-unadulterated zucchini bread = bad.

Surprisingly, the students -- who now can buy their approved items from Costco to resell at "bake" sales -- don't seem to be thrilled by the regulations and are finding it difficult to raise money.

Kathleen Grimm, the appropriately-named deputy chancellor for infrastructure and portfolio planning who's overseeing the regulations, was quoted as saying that the city's just doing this because "we want students to eat well." But given what she's telling students to eat, she sounds less like she's paying lip service to their welfare than taking a big gulp of Kool-Aid from the Smart Choices well.


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