‘Freedom’ fries: Texas repeals ban on deep fryers in schools

In this Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 photo, sliced Burbank potatoes in fryer baskets sit ready for frying at a BurgerFi restaurant in Aventura, Fla. Companies such as the gourmet hamburger chain BurgerFi plan to nearly double in size from their existing 65 restaurants this year, as more consumers are upgrading from fast food. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — It’s about freedom, not the fries.

So says new Texas Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller, who announced Thursday that the state will repeal a decade-old ban on deep fryers in public school kitchens. The Republican says government mandates have failed to make kids healthier in Texas, where roughly two-thirds of residents are considered overweight or obese.

Miller is also lifting restrictions on soft drinks in school vending machines. The American Heart Association, the Texas PTA and school nutritionists opposed the changes.

A former teacher and rodeo calf-roper, Miller says critics are misinformed since Texas is simply giving schools the option of reinstalling deep fryers if they want starting July 1.

Experts, though, say federal limits on calories and fat in school meals make it unlikely that Texas schools will resume deep-frying.

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