SACRAMENTO -- Two laws regulating food and beverages sold through school vending machines went into effect in California on July 1. Schools in the Golden State are now prohibited from selling foods, in vending machines, that contain artificial trans fat, and their sale is no longer allowed by any outside contractors. Earlier legislation banned artificial trans fat in foods sold at school cafeterias.
Trans fat can be found in vegetable shortenings, cookies, crackers, pies and other foods made with, or fried in, partially hydrogenated oils. Its consumption has been identified by the medical community as a contributor to heart disease.
As of July 1, California high schools are no longer allowed to sell soda. The high school ban follows the enactment of an earlier law banning drinks at elementary and junior high schools. High schools in California are now limited to selling only fruit and vegetable drinks with no added sweeteners, water with no sweeteners, low-fat and nonfat milk, soy milk, rice milk and similar nondairy milks and electrolyte-replacing sports drinks -- all with no more than 42g. of added sweetener per 20-fl.oz. serving.
The law does not restrict the sale of soft drinks at sporting events and other school-sponsored activities held at least a half hour after the end of the school day. It follows legislation passed in 2007 requiring at least half the drinks sold at high schools to be fruit and vegetable drinks, bottled water, milk and sports drinks.
USDA Moves Toward Regulating School Vendors
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture will be given the power to regulate all food sold in schools -- including those sold through vending machines -- when Congress renews child nutrition programs if Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has his way.
According to the Reuters news agency, Harkin plans for the committee to start work on legislation to reauthorize school lunch programs in the fall and conclude by the end of the year. Harkin said that the committee's child nutrition efforts would begin with a draft that gives the USDA the authority to oversee all food in schools, so nutrition programs are not "undermined" by "junk food" in vending machines, Reuters reported. Harkin cosponsored a bill earlier this year seeking nutritional standards for food in school vending machines and stores.
USDA currently oversees school lunches and prohibits the sale of foods with minimal nutritional value, such as soft drinks in the lunchroom. It does not control food sold in vending machines, a la carte lines or school stores.