January 17, 2015

Texas Agricultural Commissioner grants 'amnesty' to cupcakes

Texas Agricultural Commissioner grants 'amnesty' to cupcakesWhether or not they have an interest in politics, students of culinary schools in Texas might want to take note of Sid Miller’s first official act in office. Miller recently was elected into the office of the Texas Agricultural Commissioner, a position which holds quite a bit of clout in the state’s culinary scene. As part of his newfound role, Miller has the ability to voice strong opinions and even pass rules regarding what sorts of food and ingredients can be served in local Texas schools. Well, as his first act in office, that’s exactly what he did. According to The Blaze, Miller announced at a recent press conference that he would be granting amnesty to cupcakes and other sugar filled desserts in Texas schools.

The amnesty
While the actual phrasing of Miller’s act may have been for dramatic effect, the impact of his words are very real. For some time, there has been a great deal of confusion and political debate over whether or not foods high in sugars and saturated fats, such as cupcakes, should be allowed in schools. Many have argued that Texas schools shouldn’t be allowed to serve them, but this has given birth to a different argument entirely: If schools can’t serve these tasty treats, does it mean that parents can’t bring them in or send them with their children in order to celebrate a birthday too? According to Miller, both of these are now fine, as he indicated in a statement released by his agency.

“We want families, teachers and school districts in Texas to know that the Texas Department of Agriculture has abolished all rules and guidelines that would stop a parent from bringing cupcakes to school,” the statement read.

Confusion
While many have agreed with his sentiment, the opinion he is expressing isn’t even necessarily his own. According to The Washington Post, there was once a longstanding ban on bringing these foods to school. Though that act was written into law in 2004 by former agricultural commissioner Susan Combs, it was no longer in effect when Miller took office. In fact, the rule banning cupcakes and other sweet but unhealthy treats was actually repealed last year under the rule of former commissioner Todd Staples.

Miller’s motivation
Despite the fact that the policy banning these foods was repealed over a year ago, Miller seemed adamant that it was entirely necessary to use his first act in office to remind Texans of that fact. Indicating to multiple news outlets that the issue was not one of health, but rather one of state control, Miller expressed his disbelief at the fact that the ban was ever established by Texas lawmakers in the first place. The Texas Tribune reports that he compared the initial ban to something he felt the president would be more likely to do.

“If you ask me, that sounds like something from the Obama administration,” said Miller. “I can’t believe we would be doing that here in Texas.”