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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 7, July 2011, Posted On: 7/5/2011

FL Agriculture Dept. Assumes Control Of School Lunch, Vending Guidelines

Emily Jed
Rick Scott, Healthy Schools for Healthy Lives Act, SB 1312, vending, vending machine, vending machine ban, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, vending machines in public schools, Florida, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, school food oversight, utomatic Merchandising Association of Florida, National Automatic Merchandising Association, NAMA Fit Pick

TALLAHASSEE, FL -- Gov. Rick Scott has signed legislation that transfers oversight of Florida's school lunch program from the state's Department of Education to its Department of Agriculture.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam introduced the measure (SB 1312), dubbed the Healthy Schools for Healthy Lives Act, in an effort to improve nutrition among schoolchildren and encourage better lifelong eating habits. It passed both legislative chambers in May.

The law gives Putnam the authority to place more stringent restrictions on the foods and beverages schools can offer students, both in the cafeteria and through vending machines. The commissioner said he would target vending machines that compete with more "nutritional" options by restricting the types of products they can sell, or allowing their use only during certain parts of the day.

National Automatic Merchandising Association and Automatic Merchandising Association of Florida officials said they plan to meet with the commissioner to discuss NAMA's Fit Pick program and educate him on the broad range of healthier items available for vending.

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