A North Carolina preschooler arrived at school with a lunch packed by her mom, but ended up eating just three chicken nuggets from the school cafeteria because a state agent didn't think her packed lunch was nutritious enough. Pre-kindergarten programs are required to serve lunches that meet USDA guidelines—one serving each of meat, milk, and grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables—and if lunches sent from home don't meet the guidelines, the programs must provide whatever is missing. The preschooler's lunch included a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice, the Carolina Journal reports.
The agent who inspected all classroom lunches on Jan. 30 apparently told the girl hers did not meet the requirements, and the preschooler was provided with a cafeteria lunch. All she ate from that were the chicken nuggets, she told her mother, leaving behind everything else on the tray and bringing her packed lunch home untouched. Her mother got a note from the school warning that students who don't bring a "healthy lunch" could be charged for the missing portions that are provided; in this case the cafeteria fee was listed as $1.25. It's not clear what caused the home-packed lunch to be disqualified—a spokesperson for the Division of Child Development says it appears to have met the requirements, and adds that the girl's parents should not have been charged. (Read more USDA stories.)