Does Your School Regulate Food Brought From Home?

Does Your School Regulate Food Brought From Home?

Mon 18 Jun 2012

Story by The Food Revolution Team

Last week, we received a note from an anonymous source informing us that staff at a school district in the US are no longer allowed to restrict the food that students bring in from home for their lunch. Meaning that if students bring in chips, soda and other nutrient void items for their lunch while at school, there is nothing staff can do about it.

So although these meals sent in for children by their parents may not meet recently updated standards for school lunches within the NSLP, all staff can do is to ask children to consider making a healthier choice and discourage parents from sending such items.

Wellness Policies

While there is currently no USDA policy regulating what kids can bring from home into school for their lunch, districts and schools can put local wellness policies into place to regulate this. This is the case for a school in North Carolina, where in February a cafeteria worker took away a pre-schoolers lunch brought from home and instead replaced it with a lunch provided by the school. In this case however, the lunch taken away was replaced with chicken nuggets which caused a national outcry and begged the question as to whether officials should be regulating the food brought in from home. Read more about this topic here.

Many other schools and districts also regulate snacks brought in from home, food sold at fundraisers and served in class parties and set rules as to what is and isn’t allowed.

What Do You Think?

Does your child have school lunches or do you pack their lunch? Does your school district have policies over food brought in from home? And do you think that schools ought to monitor this?

We want to know what’s happening in your school and what you think! Let us know by posting on our Food Revolution Community page.

If you want to find out what is happening in your school, then get in touch with the principal and health and wellness committee and find out some more about the school wellness policy. Download and read through our toolkits to see how you can go about doing this and how you can help make changes and strengthen the policy where needed.

Competitive Foods Rules

The proposed rule for competitive foods (snacks and beverages and anything sold outside the NSLP) is expected to be announced by the USDA this summer. This rule may contain some regulations for snacks and drinks brought in from home, including those for school fundraisers.

In a recent poll it was found that the majority of voters – 80% - favour nutrition standards that would limit calories, fat and sodium in a la carte foods sold in schools and 81% are concerned about childhood obesity. Find out more about the proposed rule and the poll carried out in preparation for this here.

The Food Revolution Team


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