The U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to do its part to fight obesity and change the junk food culture.
The latest move from USDA is a proposed law, called Smart Snacks in Schools, which bans food with high fat, sugar and sodium from school vending machines and stores.
This law follows the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which requires the USDA to establish nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools and uses recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and existing voluntary standards already implemented by thousands of schools around the country.
If passed, the standards would go into effect a full school year after final approval, after a 60-day comment period.
In addition to fighting obesity by cutting empty calories, the law presents an opportunity for fresh produce marketers to replace those junk food items with fruits and vegetables.
Bags of fresh-cut apples, carrots, celery sticks, pineapple spears, etc., can all capitalize on this opening, not to mention whole fruit and vegetable options.
Refrigerated vending machines and shelf-life extending packaging will be necessary to keep fresh product at high quality levels.
Critics say this further encroaches on food choices. But parents are still free to send lunches from home with their kids containing the “contraband” food.
Those children who buy or receive food at school continue to see fare with greater nutritional value, and that’s serious progress.
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