Parents weigh in on daycare, pre-k food standards

February 28, 2012 2:20:09 PM PST
Parents may soon have to be a little more particular about what food they send with their children to daycare or pre-k classes.

Earlier this month, the Hoke County School District made national headlines when a pre-k student told her family the turkey sandwich she brought from home wasn't healthy. The child's grandmother said the girl was forced to eat chicken nuggets instead.

Now, the issue of what children can and can't drink while at a child care provider is being debated by the North Carolina Child Care Commission.

However, they say this is not related to what happened in Hoke County.

"This was regularly scheduled anyway," said the chairwoman of the N.C. Child Care Commission Claire Tate. "It had nothing at all to do with that."

The commission is looking at adopting a new rule concerning nutrition. That rule states the goal is, "to improve the nutritional standards in child care facilities by limiting certain food (i.e. juice) or prohibits providing some at all (i.e. soda, flavored milk)."

Now, the commission is taking input from the public.

"We do not need food police looking at the food that our children eat," said Susan Robbins. "If parents determine that the food that they send for their children to eat is healthy, it ought to be determined by them, not by someone else."

"These nutrition standards aren't going to cost us anything and the benefits are going to pay off," said Jan Guynn.

"Are we as North Carolinians and Americans to live under the assertion that a handful of bureaucrats can strip us of our rights as parents to give our children what we want to give our children to eat," said Scott Sweeney.

While the reactions heard from parents were certainly mixed, the commission said these rule changes are necessary to comply with national guidelines.

"As research continues to give us more information about what is the most healthy way to feed young children, we want to make sure our rules are consistent with what we know is best for children," said Tate.

The comment period lasts through the beginning of April.

The next commission meeting is May 8. At that time, officials will compile comments and reconsider the rules they've written and make modifications if needed based on what they've heard from the public.

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