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Swedish lunch lady told to make less tasty meals

Nadine Bells
Shine On
October 10, 2012

It's a rare problem -- criticisms of school lunches being "too good."

The head cook at a school in central Sweden was told to scale back her culinary offerings because her delicious lunch menu was unfair to students at other schools without access to her exceptional food.

Annica Eriksson, a lunch lady at school in Falun, bakes fresh bread daily for the students and provides an assortment of 15 vegetables and various proteins each lunch hour, the Local reports.

Eriksson's menu was not a drain on the budget, either, costing the municipality no more than other school cafeterias.

According to new instructions, the school's vegetable buffet should be halved, and bread should be store-bought. Eriksson's traditional Christmas and Easter smörgåsbords are likely at risk, too.

Also see: McDonald's Canada campaign assures its burgers are, in fact, made of '100% beef'

The municipality ordered that Eriksson "bring it down a notch" as other students don't receive such good food — and because her menu doesn't comply with the local healthy diet plan that was introduced last year.

"A menu has been developed...It is about making a collective effort on quality, to improve school meals overall and to try and ensure everyone does the same," Katarina Lindberg, head of the unit responsible for the school diet scheme, tells the local Falukuriren newspaper.

Lindberg insists she was unaware of Eriksson's extraordinary lunches. She is also surprised by the backlash that followed the order for Lindberg to scale down her lunches.

Fourth graders launched a petition to save Eriksson's menu. The story made international headlines for its absurdity.

Also see: Two British men banned from all-you-can-eat buffet for being 'pigs'

The Huffington Post updates the story:

Following the public's outrage, the municipality announced that Eriksson will be able to continue baking her own bread and providing her famous vegetable options. Swedish news source dt.se calls the incident a "misunderstanding."

Jezebel's Laura Beck offers a smart follow-up solution to the "misunderstanding":

Here's a thought: Why don't they find out what she's doing and then perhaps try to extend the smarts to other schools? She obviously had some sort of system to keep that well-oiled (mmm oil) machine working, they could use it to create a blueprint for the entire country. Or, at least try to, perhaps take a few of her ideas and see if they scale. Smörgåsbords for all!

If your kids' cafeteria doesn't offer 15 vegetable options like Eriksson's, here are some healthy lunch ideas to send to school with them.

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