School Food: Canada to Mimic Britain?
Caroline Alphonso reports in The Globe and Mail that some in Canada are optimistic Canada will follow Britain's lead in banishing lots of unhealthy foods from schools.
If you read the whole article, it sounds like Canadian parents interested in feeding their children healthy food should plan on sack lunches for at least a few more years. There are plenty of obstacles to Canada following suit. For instance, in Canada the provinces control their own school districts, so no single political action could change the whole country's school lunches.
Then there are the entrenched obstacles, which Alphonso describes:
For school boards, the vending machines and food contracts are a lucrative revenue source at a time when they have been struggling with budget cuts.
The money helps pay for team uniforms and trips.
Brian Woodland, spokesman for the Peel District School Board, which serves the Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon areas west of Toronto, said his board is working within its food contract to make sure at least one healthy meal is offered daily in high-school cafeterias at a lower price than the regular meals.
There is no discussion of changing what is being sold in high-school vending machines, he said. In elementary and middle schools that have vending machines, bottled water, apple juice and orange juice are sold.
If high schools do not serve both the healthy foods and the junk foods, students "will walk to the mall or the nearby fast-food restaurant," Mr. Woodland said.
But Lucy Valleau, chairwoman of the school nutrition working group of the Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health, said schools should be "role-modelling healthy behaviour."
"The school should be a safe haven for students to go. They should be safe and have healthy food choices," she said.
"There's no need to be selling food with minimal nutrition value in secondary-school cafeterias," Ms. Valleau said.