Coming soon to a school near you - federally approved snacks. Bloomberg News reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its "Smart Snacks in School" standards.
The standards are based on extensive study:
* Students can consume as many as half their daily calories in school.
* Snacks add 112 calories to the average elementary school student's daily diet.
* Students in states with strong snack policies gain less weight (no details given) over three years than those without regulations.
The resulting rules govern. what may be sold during the school day. (These are called "competitive foods," presumably because they compete with government-controlled, school-served food.)
* Out are full-fat chocolate cookies, fruit snacks and candy bars offered at lunch and in vending machines.
* In are peanuts, light popcorn and fruit cups.
* Elementary and middle school children may have water, milk and juice. High school students may have beverages with 60 calories or less in a 12-oz. serving.
* There are limits on salt, sugar and fats, "with exceptions for natural products including nuts and seeds, dried fruits and fat-rich seafood."
* Each item must contain less than 200 calories and contain absolutely no transfats.
* The department allowed foods that provide at least 10 percent of the recommended daily value of calcium, potassium, vitamin D and dietary fiber to live for now - but such nutrients must come naturally, not by fortification, by 2016.
An enormous federal government, unchecked by Congress, here to help you.
No word yet on the penalties for noncompliance. Dollars to doughnuts, they'll be quite, quite quite precise.