The new food service regulation which were rammed through a lame duck congress in 2010 and have started to take effect this year might just be the most outrageous case of governmental overreach it's ever been my displeasure to see.

The regs do everything from ban sales of band candy to mandate the number of cherry tomatoes (eight) which must be on a salad.

Worse, United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has, in the words of Rep Steve King (R-Iowa) decided that since " some kids are overweight, he would put every child on a diet."

For junior high through high school students the new regs mandate no more than 750-850 calories at lunch.

Which might be fine for a 100 pound high school freshman girl. Not so much for a six-foot, four-inch, 175 pound senior wide-receiver like my nephew Jordan.

It's a general rule of thumb that one-size fits-all doesn't. But it's a rule the federal government never seems to get.

Top-down solutions never allow for the flexibility to take into account local conditions, which appears to be a feature, not a bug from the viewpoint of nanny staters and bureaucrats in Washington D.C.

Meanwhile, and I've not only gone down to the local school but have seen pictures online as well, students are being given lunches which wouldn't feed my three-year-old granddaughter let alone the 250 pound star lineman.

Worse is the idea that somehow school lunches are behind the epidemic of childhood obesity that the first lady recently said was a major national security issue, and no, I can't follow that logic either.

Here's the thing, if your kid is fat? Not the schools' fault. As Jim Bolden the Columbus junior high principal told me today, they can serve all the healthy food they want, doesn't stop the kid from grabbing a 32 ounce soda on the way to school, or snarfing a bag of chips when he gets home.

That's the parent's responsibility not the schools'.

And that's the nub of the matter parents nationwide have abrogated much of their responsibility for raising their children to the schools and by extension the government.

Is it any wonder we have a culture of dependency rising in this country?

I'm by no means clean in this. Any of us with children have found it easier to let the schools be responsible for everything from teaching personal hygiene to sex ed. All of which should be taught at home.

My hope is that this insane power grab and make no mistake that's what this is will wake up parents across the country to the fact that the government is not the proper role model for their children.

As for these regulations? Well there's a bill out there called "No Hungry Kids," which aims to repeal these idiot rules. So call your congressmen and senators and tell them to support the bill.

In the meantime, I suggest that the congressional lunch room should serve the exact same meals, to the exact same standards the schools are forced to use.

I suspect the repeal would pass without opposition.

All IMHO, of course.

(Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Cherokee County News-Advocate. He can be emailed at