For months, the agriculture commissioner of Texas, Sid Miller, has waged a one-man battle to get deep fryers back where they belong — in school cafeterias statewide. Yesterday, sweet, fattening victory finally arrived: Texas is reversing its decade-long ban on July 1, in a move the AP calls a national first.
Miller, who’s referred to himself as “pot-bellied,” granted “cupcake amnesty” earlier this year, and yesterday’s reversal also applies to sodas in school vending machines, since the state’s “one-size-fits-all approach” to school lunches had deprived kids of those, too. Opponents, including the American Heart Association and Miller’s predecessor, have blasted the move as being the complete opposite of what Texas, where the high-school obesity rate is the nation’s fifth worst, needs.
Miller’s argument is that he’s not forcing anybody to actually use the fryers: It’s just the principle of the matter — or, to quote him: “This isn’t about fries, it’s about freedom.” He believes that kids are throwing healthy, bland food away, and that deep fryers will “stop creating healthy trash cans.”