Saturday 1 February 2014

A message from the lunchbox police

From the Mail, the Guardian and the Mirror...

Boy, six, suspended from school for four days after he was found to have a packet of Mini Cheddars in his lunchbox

A six-year-old boy who went to school with a bag of Mini Cheddars in his packed lunch has been suspended for four days after teachers said it contravened its healthy eating policy.

Riley Pearson, from Colnbrook, near Slough, was excluded from Colnbrook C of E Primary School after teachers discovered the snack and called in his parents.

... A letter was sent to parents saying that from 14 January, packed lunches should be 'healthy and balanced'.

Parents were told: 'Chocolate, sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks are not allowed.

'If your child's lunchbox is unhealthy and unbalanced they will be provided with a school lunch for which you will be charged.'

How heartwarming to see Public Health being taken seriously by the nation's educators. What better way to encourage a balanced diet than to have an outright ban on entire categories of food, especially those that children like best?

Look, this family was warned and now they must suffer the consequences. It's good to know that the school is considering a "permanent exclusion" unless these health criminals repent.

Today Riley's mother, airport shuttle worker Natalie Mardle, 24, said: 'We just do not see how they have the right to tell us what we can feed our son.'

Oh, come on, Miss Mardle. That's a terribly old-fashioned way of looking at things. These days we have experts to tell us what people should be eating. They care about the well-being of your child much more than you ever could. Are you an expert, dear? Are you even a member of the British Medical Association? No, you work at an airport, so pipe down and let us public health professionals dictate what your offspring eat. Nanny knows best.

'If anything, Riley is underweight and could do with putting on a few pounds.'

It may look that way from his outward appearance, Miss Mardle, but by inappropriately applying the archaic and arbitrary Body Mass Index measure to growing children, we can—and do—frequently classify perfectly slim and healthy children as being overweight and obese. Then we call it an epidemic and get to tell people what to eat based on whatever fad theory about salt/sugar/carbohydrates/fat/trans-fats happens to be in vogue.

Miss Mardle, who is expecting her fourth child, added: 'Having a balanced diet also includes eating some carbohydrates, sugars and fats.

'It is not about excluding some foods, it is about getting the mix right.'

Don't try to bamboozle us with your 'common sense', Miss Mardle! That's the kind of thing someone's grandmother might say. We don't do things like that any more. These days we pick a particular ingredient (sugar, this week), demonise it and then try to tax the pants off it. Whichever target we pick, we make sure that it is made by a large industry, is sold in supermarkets and is popular with ordinary people.

We've already explained that a balanced diet means one in which chocolate, sweets, crisps, fizzy drinks and God knows what else is completely excluded. That might sound like an unbalanced diet to some people, but that's because they're untutored ignoramuses from outside of Public Health who don't have a peer-reviewed study or a teaching qualification to their name and whose only life experience comes from raising three perfectly healthy children.

Don't play dumb here, Miss Mardle. You thought you could get around the ban on crisps by bringing Mini Cheddars into the equation. More fool you. When we say that we want to encourage children to eat a balanced diet, we mean that we will force your children onto the kind of diet that is favoured by Islington neurotics. And we do mean force, Miss Mardle, as your son has just found out.

'Surely the headteacher has better things to do with his time than search lunchboxes?'

What could be more important in a school that was "placed in special measures after Ofsted inspectors deemed it 'inadequate'" than implementing 21st century public health policies? Nothing could be more important than keeping your son away from salty snacks, Miss Mardle. Nothing. Get thee to a nunnery and we shall protect your child.

We can do this the hard way or the easy way but, god damn it, you will learn to obey Public Health.


J Bonington Jagworth said...

And yet if his mum had taken him out of school for four days, say for a short holiday, she would be accused of damaging his education!
I think I see a useful connection here, should you need a break - you'll need to buy some mini-cheddars first, though.

J Bonington Jagworth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

sorry about that.. i could have sworn you used the term 'nanny state' there somewhere... and left a comment saying dont call it a nanny state.. nanny is a very benign word for 'dictatorial..' please use the undiluted term to describe it... but then when i looked you hadnt actually used that term (i must be seeing it everywhere).. you just the word 'nanny'... but my point still stands... people refer to it as a 'nanny' state... a name that suggests almost beneficial, or at least friendly, loving, caring connotations... it is in fact a soft name for dictatorial... and to couch it in 'cushioning' with the name nanny wont wake anyone up to the truth or the harshness of what is happening in this country, driven by the we know best do-gooders... rant over. thanks for listening :)

Unknown said...

Christopher Snowdon said...

Suddenly I have an overwhelming craving for Cheez-Its.

Christopher Snowdon said...

Oh, but don't forget the "fat on the inside" claim for kids who look slim! So, he may look fit, but because he eats the "wrong" foods, he's nutritionally "fat on the inside." smh