Texas Puts Deep Fat Fryers Back in Schools

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid MillerStirring politics into obesity leads to some remarkable decisions. So it is in Texas where Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller saw a pressing political need to put deep fat fryers back into schools. Announcing the end of a statewide ban on deep fat fryers, Miller was spinning it out as a “fresh approach” to combat child obesity. He said:

We want to stop creating healthy trash cans. We must encourage kids to stop throwing away their meals because with them goes taxpayer dollars. Instead, we want all schools to employ best practices to create and serve healthy meals that kids actually want to eat.

He’s probably right. If deep fat fryers return to school cafeterias, maybe kids will eat more and stop throwing all that supposedly healthy food away. How healthy can it be if kids aren’t cleaning their plates and going back for seconds. Sheesh!

Apparently the American Heart Association (AHA) — headquartered in Texas — doesn’t understand. AHA issued a statement noting that most parents support keeping fried foods out of schools and saying:

Commissioner Miller’s attempt at addressing childhood obesity is well-intentioned, but it fails to align with evidence-based policies that are supported by the AHA and have been a main component in reversing this epidemic such as keeping fried foods and sodas out of reach from our children.

The San Antonio Express-News recognized Miller for being innovative, saying:

This may be the first plan to combat obesity that comes with a side of fries. Way to go Sid Miller!

This move is a natural for Miller. His first official act as agriculture commissioner in January was to declare a “cupcake amnesty” — encouraging parents to bring cupcakes to school for parties.

Honest. We’re not making this up.

Click here to read more from the Fort Worth Star Telegram and here to read more from the San Antonio Express-News.

Fries, photograph © Robyn Lee / flickr

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6 Responses to “Texas Puts Deep Fat Fryers Back in Schools”

  1. June 23, 2015 at 7:14 am, Joe Gitchell said:

    Yum! Guns AND Butter!

    What is not to like?

    Homo hungriensis

    • June 23, 2015 at 7:51 am, Ted said:

      Thanks, Joe for some “fresh” thinking!

  2. June 23, 2015 at 11:31 am, Mary-Jo said:

    Why does it have to be ‘either’, ‘or’ on this issue? The AHA and Miller’s stances can BOTH work, if applied sensibly. What needs to be emphasized about this move on Miller’s part is more the APPLICATION of bringing deep-fat fryers back and encouraging cupcakes, ie, not as a license to OVEReat all the wrong foods, but to enhance balanced consumption. People need to hear more loudly the reasonable perspective on the issue — ie — that keeping ALL fried foods forever and with military precision out of schools isn’t really wise. And, when menus are planned that execute portion control, appeal, and nutrition , it could really and truly result in kids eating healthier and not wasting. For example, a grilled piece of fish with peas&carrots and some great-tasting fries (in a small portion — not an overloaded plate!) could work to help increase enjoyment of the meal and of intake of mainly nutritious foods. If cupcakes are brought in occasionally, as treats, not as everyday staples — this is normal. Both instances offer opportunities to educate children about the importance of balance and thankfulness of foods and fosters control and understanding. If ‘NO’ and ‘NEVER’ of fried foods or treats is upheld, it can invite hoarding and seeking junk foods only, and of course, trashing anything healthy and food waste, in general. I think parents would appreciate that schools offer and promote food that exemplifies balanced nutrition yet taste and appeal and the value of moderation and portion control for treats. Everybody wins!

    • June 23, 2015 at 7:34 pm, Ted said:

      You’re making an important point, Mary Jo. Thanks for putting it out there.

  3. June 25, 2015 at 3:15 pm, No more hunger said:

    With Federal recommendation of no more than 650 calories for breakfast and 850 calories for lunch, kids arriving home unsupervised to consume massive quanities of whatever after school is the problem. I believe a normal child will burn over 2000 calories a day and schools need to provide a substantial portion of that or risk making the obesity crisis worse rather than better.
    The numbers get even more out of whack if you factor in athletic endeavors.

    • June 26, 2015 at 4:03 am, Ted said:

      Thanks for your comment.