Michelle Obama Lunches: Is This An Acceptable School Meal?

Fact checked

A Portsmouth, Virginia school is coming under fire today after a photo posted to social media by a concerned mother of her child’s lunch went viral.  The photo, shown above, shows a non-skinned fish “filet” with a slightly burnt whole wheat bun tossed on top of it.  On another section of the tray are some dried, chewy green beans.

The rest of the tray is completely empty.  The school has tried to defend itself by saying the photo was taken in poor lighting and that the meal is in complete alliance with Michelle Obama championed federal school lunch rules and regulations.

In an article on EAGnews.com, they report on the incident.  In the article, they state:

That’s not really a fish filet with a whole wheat bun resting on top.

Nah, your eyes are playing tricks on you.

That’s what administrators at Virginia’s Portsmouth Public Schools want parents to believe after a mother took a photo of her child’s paltry school lunch and posted it on social media.

The mom says James Hurst Elementary served the lunch Tuesday.


After the photo began circulating around the community, Food Service Coordinator Jim Gehlhoff admitted the lunch “concerns us,” but added that it might not actually be as bad as it looks.

portsmouth-lunch“Poor lighting and food presentation make this lunch unappealing,” he said in a statement released to the media.


He says it’s in compliance with the federal lunch rules championed by First Lady Michelle Obama.

“The meal in this photo and other meals served by Portsmouth Public Schools meet nutritional and USDA requirements,” according to the food service coordinator.

An unscientific poll by WAVY found 92.3 percent of respondents (10,138 people) did not believe the lunch was “acceptable.”

The photo comes as Congressional Republicans are preparing to create “flexibility” in the program and not outright repeal it.

school_Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 2.42.19 AM

“No child should go to school hungry – it’s that simple,” committee chair Rep. John Kline said at a House Education and Workforce Committee this week, Agri-Pulse reports.

“Today’s discussion is not about whether we agree on this basic principle; I am confident we all do. Instead, our discussion today is about beginning a larger effort we will continue in the coming months to ensure the best policies are in place to help reach this goal.”

The School Nutrition Association – one of the leading critics of the rules – is calling for a funding increase for the National School Lunch Program.

“That will help school food authorities afford the foods that we must serve, but unfortunately that won’t make students consume it,” SNA President Julia Bauscher said during testimony. “And that’s what we’re also focused on…finding ways to ensure students will eat the healthy foods that we’re making available to them and not throw it in the trash.”

So far, the SNA and Congressional Republicans appear to only be looking to ease whole wheat requirements and forbid future restrictions on sodium.


Royce Christyn

Royce Christyn

Journalist at News Punch
Documentarian, Writer, Producer, Director, Author.
Royce Christyn


  1. If you don’t like it, bring your own lunch. If you want “free” lunches from the schoolags, then put on your big boy pants and eat what they serve.

  2. If you don’t like it, bring your own lunch. If you want “free” lunches from the schoolags, then put on your big boy pants and eat what they serve.

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