Twinkie Classified as a Vegetable; School Boards Rejoice

Written by Penn Naim

Monday, 26 April 2010

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The FDA announced this week that Twinkie, a popular food item distributed by Hostess and owned by Texas-based Hostess, is now classified as a vegetable.

The Twinkie as a Vegetable referendum refers to a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Drug Administration directive that reclassified a Twinkie to a vegetable, allowing public schools to cut out a serving of cooked or fresh vegetable from hot lunch program child-nutrition requirements. The White House Office of Management and Budget estimated a potential US $1 billion annual savings in the cost of subsidized meals for low-income students.

Release of the proposed directive for required public comment in September 2009 met with rejoicing and full support from all of the 720 school administrators. Statements of bi-partisanship and compromise were made by both the House and Senate. The administration responded their concern was to address "plate waste" and to serve what students would actually consume. Focusing more unwanted attention on the matter, a mid-level political appointee at the USDA touted the directive's language as an example of the "New Federalism" (returning rights to the state level) touted by Reagan during the 1980 presidential campaign, in that the final decision to implement would be made on the state level. Reassignment of that employee the following month led to charges of a political firing.

Reporting on the new directive, Newsweek magazine illustrated their story with a picture of a partially consumed Twinkie with the caption "now a vegetable." The popular directive was criticized by Nutritionists and Liberal Democratic politicians who staged photo ops where they dined on nutrition-poor meals that conformed to the new lax standards.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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