Tag Archives: potatoes

Regulation of the Day 154: Potatoes in School Lunches

The federal government is considering limiting, or even banning potatoes from school lunches. Officials fear the tasty tubers are causing childhood obesity. They would rather children eat more leafy greens instead.

The children are not pleased. One child told the Associated Press, “That would be so not cool. I love tater tots.”

Critics of the nanny state’s slow but steady mission creep often ask, “What’s next, a law saying eat your vegetables?” Well, apparently it is next. Freedom advocates need to find a new reductio ad absurdum.

In fact, the USDA already has a temporary regulation in place disallowing food stamps to be used to buy potatoes. The rule may be made permanent next year. Poverty has more important indignities than losing some choice of what you buy at the grocery store. But what a way to treat adults.

Eat your vegetables. Or else. They’re good for you.

Friday Regulation Roundup

Some of the stranger governmental goings-on I’ve dug up recently:

-Since 1960, it has been illegal to fly a kite in Schaumburg, Illinois.

-If you are a tree in need of help, the federal government has a Tree Assistance Program.

$18,881 of stimulus money spent on a single sign in Wyoming.

-Concerned about your fecundity? Consult the federal government’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee.

-Northern Arizona University spends $75,000 in stimulus funds to install electronic sensors to see if students skip class.  (hat tip to The Wall Street Journal‘s Kim Schatz)

-In Alabama, it is against the law to sell artificially colored potatoes.

-Need help with your math homework? Consult the government’s North American Numbering Council.

-In Yukon, Oklahoma, it is illegal for a patient to pull a dentist’s tooth.

Friday Regulation Roundup

Government does more wacky things than anyone could possibly write about in any detail. Listed here are just a few that I dug up over the course of the week. If you have more, I’d love to hear about them.

206 occupations require licenses in New Jersey.

– Federal money is paying for a museum exhibit called “Race to the End of the Earth.” (Note: the earth is round.)

– In the market for a new air conditioner? Act fast, because new regulations are on the way.

– The federal government pays for a website that monitors jellyfish sightings.*

– Fear not: the federal government has a Potato Research and Promotion Plan.

– Last year, the feds started a Dairy Industry Advisory Committee. Let the rent-seeking begin!

– And finally: 2,000 House staffers make $100,000 or more per year.

*CORRECTION: Commenter Steve, who works at jellywatch.org, writes that “Our web site is NOT supported by the federal government in any way. It would not be a bad thing if it were, since people are dependent on fish which interact with jellyfish. However we are presently supporting the site through our volunteered time and money from our own pocket. The article you cite refers to associated research which our project will contribute data. Please correct your site accordingly.”

I take Steve at his word, thank him, and issue this correction. Federal money does go to jellyfish research, but not to jellywatch.org.

I also received a thoughtful email from  a colleague of Steve’s that deserves a thoughtful reply. I will post it this weekend.

Regulation of the Day 47: Irish Potatoes

Until last Friday, it was illegal for certain producers to sell or import U.S. No. 1 grade “Creamer size” (long and skinny) Irish potatoes. Creamer size potatoes are identical in taste, texture, and weight to their stouter, rounder counterparts.

In the Idaho-Eastern Oregon growing region, this led to over $7 million worth of potatoes to go unsold. That’s a lot of uneaten meals. Hopefully the USDA will repeal similar aesthetic restrictions on other types of food. It is bad policy to keep perfectly good food off the market, especially during times of recession and high food prices.