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NZ: Food and beverage classification system for schools

Health Minister Pete Hodgson launched the food and beverage classification system at an Auckland school on Tuesday. It is a tool to help schools and early childhood centres encourage healthy eating habits.

The system classifies foods and drinks into “everyday”, “sometimes” and “occasional” categories. This depends on their nutrient content including saturated fat, salt and energy content.

FOE welcomes this initiative. One of our goals has always been to have healthy food sold in schools. (Most people agree. Our 2005 poll found that 84% of those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that unhealthy food and drink products should not be sold in school canteens and vending machines.)

The Ministy of Health’s classification system categories are:

  • Everyday foods: appropriate for everyday consumption. Encourage and promote these foods and drinks in your school.
  • Sometimes foods: for restricted provision. Do not let these foods and drinks dominate the choices available, and provide in appropriate serving sizes
  • Occasional foods: not for provision. Limit provision of these foods or drinks to about ONE occasion per term.

The Ministry has also prepared resources to help schools identify and offer healthy food choices.

  • User Guide for early childhood education services
  • Recipes for ECE services
  • User Guide for Schools (Years 1-13)
  • Catering Guidelines for Schools

You can dowload these resources from the Ministry’s Healthy Eating Healthy Action website.

Still room for a pie as school rules kick in

The Herald explains that the food and beverage classification system falls under the National Administration Guidelines released in June. These guidelines require that only “healthy” food and beverages are sold on school premises from next June. The Ministry of Health’s chief adviser on Pacific Health says the Education Review Office will not be checking whether the guidelines are being used. It will be testing whether schools understand the guidelines, and whether they have policies and procedures in place.

Read more: NZ Herald, 17 July 2007

Published on July 17, 2007 in New Zealand news