Students in Manorville, New York used to be able to decide how much ketchup they wanted. Now, they’re under strict rationing.
As CBS New York reports, the Eastport-South Manor Central School District recently sent a letter to parents explaining the district’s new condiment policy. Up until now, students in the district dispensed their mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise from pumps — and took as much as they wanted.
Under the new policy, however, the pumps are gone and strict limits are in. Students get either one or two ketchup packets — the same kind you grab by the handful at fast food places. Whether they get one or two depends on the meal they purchase. Mustard and mayonnaise are similarly controlled.
The kids themselves are disappointed by the new rule, pointing out that there isn’t much ketchup in a packet. One sixth-grader told News 12 he thinks, “it’s kind of stupid, overall … it’s just a ketchup packet.”
Many parents found the new controls to be silly. One likened it to taking the children’s rights away. Another mom told CBS that ketchup is how she gets her daughter to eat:
“My daughter, for instance, she puts ketchup all over her chicken, so to get her to eat her chicken she has to have the ketchup.”
One local echoed the sentiments of many others when he questioned why the ketchup limits were necessary:
I don’t see people abusing ketchup. Maybe it’s the gateway condiment, I don’t know, but I don’t think so.
The school district explained they put the new rule in place in order to comply with state rules about nutrition and diet. Assistant Superintendent Tim Laube said the old pump system made it impossible for them to know exactly how much sugar and sodium each child was consuming. He told CBS:
“The state enforces that we have to limit salt and sugar intake. It is a health issue and the state has these guidelines that we have to obey.”
Laube added that the district might lose state funding for reduced meals if they don’t comply with state rules on diet and nutrition.
However, parents aren’t convinced that this is a necessary or effective way to monitor kids’ diets. Mom Heather Wolters told News 12 she thought the new rule was a joke when she first saw it:
“I mean, my son can buy four packets of cookies. I don’t see them putting a stop to that.”