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NZ: Full sugar fizzy and energy drinks to be removed from secondary schools

The Government has announced that full sugar fizzy and energy drinks will be removed from secondary schools by 2009 under anagreement between the Labour-led government and two of New Zealand’s biggest beverage companies.  Diet versions of their drinks as well as water and fruit juices will still be available.

Read more: Press release, NZ Government, 11 Nov 2006



FOE is pleased that there is going to be some reduction in the sugary drinks available in secondary schools. But this is a timid step by the Government, and leaves New Zealand lagging behind. The British have already taken sugary drinks off the school menu and removed them from vending machines. Diet, sport drinks and flavoured waters have gone from there too. And the French have banned vending machines altogether. In Australia, Victoria will phase out high-calorie, high-sugar soft drinks from canteens and vending machines in all government primary and secondary schools by the end of the year.

The 2009 deadline is much too generous to the beverage industry at the expense of children’s health, and the excuse for it looks feeble given what other countries are already achieving. And worse, the Minister says the Government does not intend developing regulations to ban drinks produced by either Coca-Cola or Frucor from schools. So this looks like a clever pre-emptive move by these companies. The score? Beverages industry 9, children’s health 1.

Government’s line on sugary drinks too soft: campaigners

Full-sugar fizzy and energy drinks will be removed from all secondary schools by 2009. However, schools will still be able to sell fruit juice and carbonated diet drinks, several containing caffeine. This angers some anti-obesity campaigners who say the Government should take a harder line.

Read more: NZ Herald, 12 Dec 2006

Row goes on over school soft drinks

Health experts want the government to also remove diet drinks, sports drinks and fruit juice from schools by 2009. These contain caffeine, acids, sugars and artificial sweeteners which can harm teeth and bones.

Read more: Source: NZ Herald, 16 Dec 2006

Diet drinks should be expelled from schools too

The Green Party says the agreement to remove sugary drinks from secondary schools is more about public relations and spin than public health. “It will allow Coca Cola and Pepsi to continue to sell their branded, nutritionless, caffeine-filled colas in vending machines in schools, and will keep kids hooked on fizzy drinks.”

Read more: Press release, Green Party, 11 Dec 2006

Stuff poll

An unscientific poll by Stuff on banning soft drinks from schools by 2009 found that 40% said yes, they are no good for kids, 19% said no, what’s the big deal?, and 40% said it should happen sooner.

Stuff poll, 12 Dec 2006


11 December 2006

Why are we waiting?

While welcoming the announcement today that full sugar and energy drinks will be removed from sale at schools, the Obesity Action Coalition maintains concerns about the time lag in implementing the action.

“The removal of sweetened fizzy drinks from secondary schools by Frucor and Coca Cola is a fine gesture but why do we have to wait till 2009?” asks Celia Murphy of the Obesity Action Coalition.

“Why not get rid of all fizzy and energy drinks and why wait two years to accomplish it? Surely it must be possible to do it sooner?

She says the alternative of selling artificially sweetened drinks to children may reduce their sugar intake.

“But these drinks make no useful contribution to the children’s health and nutrition and they just continue to promote the ‘fizzy drink culture’ that youngsters have adopted.

“Artificially sweetened soft drinks cut sugar from young people’s diets but they do not add useful nutrients. Kids need good nutrition; not just low sugar foods.”

OAC suggests there are a number of reasons not to sell artificially sweetened drinks especially colas and fizzy drink to youths. These reasons include:

* Diet drinks promote and maintain a sweet taste – they are intensely sweet and encourage a taste for sweet drinks. They do nothing to discourage sweet drinks and maintain and support a “sweet and soft drink culture.”
* Diet drinks replace water and milk in the diet and consequently essential nutrients.
* The acidity of diet soft drinks may damage tooth enamel.
* The phosphoric acid in fizzy cola drinks may affect calcium in the bones and increase the risk of osteoporosis. The displacement of milk in the diet adds to this effect.
* Should we promote a drink you have to buy, especially in low socioeconomic communities?
* Is the caffeine content of cola and energy drinks OK for kids?

“It is obvious that schools are a wonderful marketing opportunity for industry. Not only do they sell lots of their products but it is a wonderful opportunity to advertise their products and to keep brand names in kids’ heads. Serving soft drinks at school everyday also makes drinking soft drinks everyday seem completely normal, but water, milk or juice based drinks would be much better for them.”


Published on December 13, 2006 in New Zealand news