Saturday, December 1, 2007

Harkin's federal standards for schools' vending machines

Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa and the chairman of the Agriculture Committee, has twice introduced bills to deal with foods other than the standard school lunch, which is regulated by Department of Agriculture. This new measure, which addresses competitive foods, is being proposed as an amendment to Farm Bill:
The nutrition standards would allow only plain bottled water and eight-ounce servings of fruit juice or plain or flavored low-fat milk with up to 170 calories to be sold in elementary and middle schools. High school students could also buy diet soda or, in places like school gyms, sports drinks. Other drinks with as many as 66 calories per eight ounces could be sold in high schools, but that threshold would drop to 25 calories per eight-ounce serving in five years.
Food for sale would have to be limited in saturated and trans fat and have less than 35 percent sugar (Imagine over a third of a snack as sugar -not really a definition for healthy snack: See our earlier posts on effects of sugars on insulin). Sodium would be limited, and snacks must have no more than 180 calories per serving for middle and elementary schools and 200 calories for high schools.
The rules have the support of food and drink manufacturers, including the American Beverage Association: No wonder, it basically represents an alignment to the Clinton Alliance's compromise with the Food and Beverage Industry.
States would not be able to pass stronger restrictions. Full New York Times Story here.

P.S. Dec. 17th, 2007. Here is Marion Nestle's follow-up on this story: Measure dropped. Back to state regulations...

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