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9-Year-Old Aspiring Food Blogger Banned From Blogging About School Lunches

dancing_chopsticks, Flickr

OK, we all know that school lunches aren’t always…appetizing. And apparently, schools get pretty upset when to try to point this out.

In Scotland, 9-year-old student and aspiring food critic Martha Payne started a food blog about her school cafeteria. But a negative review of one lunch resulted in her being banned from taking photos in the school cafeteria.

Martha, who lives in the coastal town of Lochgilphead, about 130 miles (210 kilometers) west of Edinburgh, gave each meal a “food-o-meter” rating, and offered an assessment of its contents.

“I’d really like to know where the chicken comes from,” she wrote in an entry about chicken fajitas, “so I am going to write to the lady in charge to ask. I know it comes from a hen but I’d like to know where the hen lived.”

Local officials weren’t amused, and ordered the schoolgirl to stop taking pictures.

In a statement, Argyll and Bute Council said Payne’s photos were misleading and had caused distress to cafeteria staff. The council was particularly irked by a report about the blog in Scotland’s Daily Record newspaper headlined “Fire the Dinner Ladies.”

The council complained of “unwarranted attacks on its schools catering service” and said the blog “misrepresented the options and choices available to pupils.”

As a result, it said, “a decision has been made by the council to stop photos being taken in the school canteen.”

After the story was released on the Internet, the huge outcry against the administrators (surprise, surprise) caused them to backtrack on their decisions. The photo ban has since been lifted.

Once again, it’s a total overreaction on the part of the administration. She wasn’t even criticizing the food. She just wanted to know where it came from, a legitimate question. And for the most part, Martha’s reviews of the school food was positive. It was just this one little complaints that got everyone all up in arms. Give me a break.

As for this young food critic in training, I’ll expect to see her as a judge on “Chopped” or “Iron Chef” a couple of years down the road.


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