Mass. bake sale ban falling flat
Beginning in August, public schools cannot sell baked goods or any junk foods in the 30 minutes before school begins or in the 30 minutes after school ends. The ban gives public health officials one more cudgel in the fight against obesity. About one-third of Bay State children are obese. Massachusetts already prohibits the sale of sugar-laced drinks in schools.
Although the policy has unleashed a new round of Bay State bashing, Massachusetts lines up with national trends in policing school-based food choices. In the New York City schools, bake sales can be held after lunch once a month and evenings after 6 p.m.
This focus on healthy diets hasn’t been completely lost on Bay State parents. A recent study showed that obesity rates in Massachusetts children under the age of six are showing significant declines.
The reality is healthy eating begins at home. Jon Keller opines that the fault for a proposed ban on bake sales is not in our stars but in our ever-expanding selves. The Boston Herald sought out Buddy Valastro, star of the TLC reality show The Cake Boss and the father of four children under 10. He obligingly proclaimed the Massachusetts ban “stupid,” while riffing on this pearl of ancient Greek wisdom: “We need to teach our kids that you should be able to eat cake, but in moderation.”
Some Brockton area parents argue that the ban won’t make much of a dent in fundraising since there has been a shift away from large bake sales. But Department of Public Health officials want to see the ban extended throughout the school day and to weekend sporting and other school-related events.
Overlooked by the architects of the ban is the fact that many schools rely on bake sales to fund the extras that districts can no longer afford, from school supplies to scholarship programs and extracurricular activities. In Danvers, the sale of 8,000 pounds of fudge helped finance the high school band’s trip to perform in the 2010 Rose Bowl Parade. Last year, a group of Taunton fourth-graders organized a bake sale and raised nearly $200 to send to the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Any way you slice it, yard sales don’t have quite the same appeal as homemade chocolate chip cookies or blueberry muffins.
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