The new school term in Western Australia has started, and parents are getting overwhelmed by the ban on the beloved ham-and-cheese sandwich.
The state’s Department of Health changed the way food and drink are classified in public schools, which limited the menu item’s sale.
According to Megan Sauzier, the head of the school canteen association in Western Australia, the move to red has caused confusion and concern among the staff members.
She said that many of the parents are confused by the new classification of food items, especially since they require certain items to be easy to prepare.
However, she added that it was still acceptable for students to have a ham-and-cheese sandwich once a week as long as it is accompanied by other healthy food options.
The new category of food items, which is called “selected red,” allows canteens to sell these items twice a week.
Since 2007, the “red” food items have been banned from school menus. These include unhealthy food items such as chocolate bars and soft drinks. Although she is proud of the state’s healthy eating policy, Ms. Sauzier said she was worried that the new classification might lead to kids’ health going down the wrong path.
Some of the food items that are included in the new “red” category include sausage rolls, pies, and pastries. The new policy was introduced in December last year.
According to the Department of Health, the goal of the new labeling guidelines was to align the nutritional guidelines of schools with the federal government’s health council guide. However, it noted that the new labels did not regulate what children eat in their school lunch boxes.
The Education Department also noted that it did not support the idea of inspecting the nutritional content of children’s lunch boxes. In addition, the new guidelines did not require the department to monitor the food items in these boxes. A fact sheet released by the agency stated that the new red food items included various types of processed food and beverages.
To comply with the new guidelines, the food items that are required to be served in schools must be at least half a serving size of vegetables or salad. Some of these include chicken wings, patty melts, fish cakes, and prepared chicken meals.