A Chicago public school that six years ago prohibited most homemade
lunches has recently found itself in the media spotlight, with some parents
publicly questioning the policy that Little Village Academy Principal Elsa
Carmona has defended as more nutritious for children. The Chicago Tribune
has reported that Carmona instituted the ban after watching students bring
“bottles of soda and flaming hot chips” on field trips. “While there is no formal
policy, principals use common sense judgment based on their individual
school environments,” confirmed a Chicago Public Schools spokesperson. “In
this case, this principal is encouraging the healthier choices and attempting to
make an impact that extends beyond the classroom.”

But some parents have faulted the school for providing unappetizing fare while bringing in more money from students forced to purchase lunch. Their complaints have since received national attention from groups like the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), which called the policy “a fundamental infringement on parental responsibility.”

“Would the school balk if the parent wanted to prepare a healthier meal?,” asked one CCF researcher. “This is the perfect illustration of how the government’s one-size-fits-all mandate on nutrition fails time and time again. Some parents may want to pack a gluten-free meal for a child, and others may have no problem with a child enjoying a soda.” See Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2011.

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.