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Despite Headlines, Michelle Obama, Government Have Not Banned Bake Sales, Cupcakes in Schools

Unknown“Put Down the Cupcake: New Ban Hits School Bake Sales,” a Wall Street Journal headline warned. The Daily Caller blamed the first lady: “Michelle Obama’s Meddling in School Lunches Now Causes BAKE SALE BANS.”

But no, the government isn’t waging a war on brownies. School bake sales haven’t been banned as some recent headlines have suggested. Nor does little Johnny have to bring carrot sticks instead of cupcakes to share with classmates on his birthday.

New rules requiring healthier foods in public schools took effect July 1 as a result of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act passed in 2010. They set nutrition standards for all food and drinks sold during the school day, including “competitive foods” — government language for vending machine snacks and bake-sale goodies.

The standards, which dictate how much fat and sugar food sold on school grounds can contain, do extend to snacks sold at fundraisers. That raised the hackles of some state school superintendents, including John Barge of Georgia, who called the rules an “absolute overreach of the federal government.”

“Tough economic times have translated into fewer resources and these fundraisers allow our schools to raise a considerable amount of money for very worthwhile education programs,” Barge said in a press release. “While we are concerned about the obesity epidemic, limiting food and beverage fundraisers at schools and school-related events is not the solution.”

The new rules don’t dictate how many bake sales hawking noncompliant goodies a school can hold each year. The rules leave it to states to set the limits, but caution that such sales should be “infrequent.” Georgia said it will allow 30 bake sales per year per school during which students can buy foods that don’t meet the new standards. There are about 2,500 public schools in Georgia, so that’s 75,000 bake sales per year. Not much of a ban.



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