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Big Brother In the School Cafeteria? 425

AustinSlacker writes "An Iowa school district's lunch program asks children as young as 5 years old to memorize a four-digit PIN code so it can monitor what they eat in the school cafeteria - prompting some parents to claim it's an unhealthy case of 'Big Brother.' An over reaction by parents or an unnecessary invasion of privacy?"
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Big Brother In the School Cafeteria?

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  • Re:WTF (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @09:42PM (#33516076)

    How can they possibly justify the need to monitor what children eat. When they are either eating what their parent gave them or what the school gives them. This is has no purpose other than to get kids used to being monitored. For crying out loud, if you're worried they're eating too much junk, stop giving it to them.

    Iowa schools were profiting by selling the rights to provide school lunches to outside contractors, who found it more profitable to sell kids junk food. Parents got sick of this and demanded the legislature step in. Some administrator took this mandate a little too far, possibly on purpose.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @09:46PM (#33516096)

    By who's definition of healthy?

    If only there was some group somewhere, maybe part of the government, who employed nutritionists and could use peer-reviewed science to separate what's healthy from diet fads. You know, like a department of health or human services or something?

    And as science changes, they could maybe update the guidelines on a periodic basis.. like every 5 years or so.

  • by Symbha ( 679466 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @10:37PM (#33516436)

    People aren't willing to pay for healthy... THAT is the problem.
    Fresh fruits and vegetables are a boatload more expensive the subsidized high fructose corn syrup, and processed industrial food.

    This is how ketchup became a vegetable.

  • by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @10:43PM (#33516488) Homepage Journal

    You're right. My reaction to this was, "This is news?"

    They've had this at our local elementary school as long as I've had kids there, which has been 10 years. The kids each have an ID number they enter when they purchase lunch and we write checks for lunch money. They get to keep the same ID number all through their school "career" (my oldest is in 11th grade) and it saves them the trouble of having to deal with money for lunches and saves us the trouble of dealing with it too.

  • by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @10:58PM (#33516606)

    Ftfa: the number will pull up the child's photo so the cashier can verify the identity.

    That little check is in place at least.

    That said children can go and purchase meals for each other. But it's pretty hard to purchase meals on someone else's account.

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Thursday September 09, 2010 @12:26AM (#33517082) Journal
    "Some adults I know would pay for this service in the real world..."

    In the 60's we had a thing called a "lunch order". The parent would write the lunch order on a plain envelope and put the money inside. This was given to the teacher in the morning and at lunch time the lunch would be delivered to class with your name on it.

    The results were; Kids didn't spend half their lunch time waiting in line, nor could they blow their money on sweets. Parents knew exactly what their kids were getting for lunch, and bullies had little opportunity to steal the money.
  • by RealTime ( 3392 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @02:40AM (#33517722)
    For the most part, red meat has only been really bad for you since the end of World War II. A glut of manufacturing capacity and petroleum lead to a massive increase in the mechanization of grain farming (especially corn) in North America. This led to a precipitous drop in price due to over-supply, and farmers turned to feeding it to livestock to produce a "value-add" via conversion to more-valuable animal protein.

    The problem is that the digestive systems and metabolisms of grazing animals are suited to forage diets (grass), not grain. Grain has much higher ratios of Omega-6 fatty acids compared to the mostly Omega-3 fatty acids found in the non-grain parts of grasses, so feeding grains to grazing animals greatly elevates the Omega-6 fatty acids that then end up in the meat (and have other health consequences for the grazing animals). Eating the meat from animals fed this way ends up having health consequences for humans.

    I would recommend meats such as pastured poultry and grass-fed, grass-finished beef (in addition to fish) to reduce the Omega-6 fatty acids compared to the typical American diet.
  • by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:03AM (#33517822)

    Not just in the US. In Europe the same. Netherlands is growing a lot of corn that is then shredded (stems and all, just not the roots) and used as animal fodder. Many cattle will still graze in summer time, in winter they get this corn. Harvesting grass in summer is also still done though. Other countries are growing beets to feed to their animals in winter, or even all year long, as it has better overall meat production than to pasture the cattle in summer.

    Still red meat is generally recommended as relatively healthy.

    It is interesting though how US made beef (even Brazilian beef) is available big time in the supermarkets in Hong Kong. And at prices competitive to mainland raised meat. Japanese beef though is definitely more expensive, and sold primarily for it's (perceived?) high quality.

    Oh and assuming you are an American tax payer, I should also thank you for paying for a lot of my fruit. US grown oranges are sold in Hong Kong at the same price as mainland grown oranges (from maybe 200-300 km away from here - less transport, less labour cost, etc). US grown grapes are sold here at prices of about USD 1.50/lb - sometimes less than USD 1/lb. Imported all the way from the US. No mainland grown grapes available at all. They probably can not compete with the cheap produce dumped on the market by US exporters.

    Economically it is impossible for US produce to compete price wise with mainland produce. Just impossible. Long transport lines, high labour and other cost in the US, etc. While the mainland has low wages, produce comes from just across the border transported by low payed drivers. US cotton is even driving Chinese farmers out of business because mainland manufacturers can buy US grown cotton cheaper than what's grown in their own back yard.

    But anyway thanks to you American tax payers I can enjoy good quality, reasonably safe and cheap food on my table in Hong Kong. It's a wonderful world.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:39AM (#33517966)

    Another point is that kids who are entitled to receive free school meals because they are poor are not stigmatised because the money is just paid into their cafeteria account rather than having to hand in a special token that could single them out for bullying. This has increased the number of kids who actually eat their free meal rather than skipping lunch so their classmates don't find out they can't afford lunch.

  • Re:indoctrination (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nimey ( 114278 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:43AM (#33519146) Homepage Journal

    That was a joke. Over here we usually reserve "stall" for the toilet, or perhaps for where you'd milk a cow.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson