Healthy food at school

In April 2014 the US Department of Agriculture, awarded $25 million in grants to schools to help them purchase kitchen equipment to support healthy food preparation. Over 90 percent of schools report that they are successfully meeting the updated nutrition standards, serving meals with more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy, and less sodium and fat.

Australia doesn’t have the same system of providing school meals as the US and UK but we do have canteens and there have been attempts to regulate the food and drink provided through these outlets.

There is currently no legislation regulating the nutritional content of food and beverage provided in schools other than regulation of kindergartens and childcare centres in NSW. Queensland did attempt to introduce legislation in 2005 banning soft drinks in schools but this was not enacted.

There are also no legislative avenues for local governments to use to stop fast food outlets being sited next to schools. One Adelaide school came in for some criticism recently for trying to stop children visiting a nearby outlet but as the Advertiser explained it was not because the food was unhealthy.

Local opposition to a McDonalds sited next to a school in Tacoma, in the Dandenong ranges, Victoria garnered considerable national and international attention but was unsuccessful in blocking the outlet from opening in April 2014.

Contributor: Jackie Street

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