The current issue of The Atlantic has a story titled Fixing Lunch that includes the problems associated with “crap food” in the vending machines in schools. The Northfield School Board apparently last changed the Wellness policy (PDF) back in May of 2006 (PDF) and directed the District Wellness Committee to develop new vending machine guidelines for the 06-07 year. It hasn’t been done, as far as I can tell. The vending machines in the photos are at the Northfield High School. (continued)
The language in the District’s wellness policy related to vending machines includes:
2. Food and beverage providers at any district site are encouraged to provide a variety of nutritious choices consistent with the current USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Portion sizes should be age-appropriate for elementary, middle, and high school students, respectively. This includes products offered in snack bars, activity concession stands, a la carte, and vending machines.
9. Vending machines will not be available during the school day for elementary and / or middle school students. District employee lounges may be exempt from this requirement.
10. Beginning with the 2006-2007 school year, the District Wellness Committee will develop guidelines for the food and beverage choices in all vending machines. The guidelines developed will consider having only healthy options available during school hours.
It’s not clear to me where the profits from the District’s vending machines go.
See the April issue of Gourmet magazine: Rethinking School Vending Machines. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa is quoted:
We know from surveys and common experience that the majority of our schools offer children ready access to heavily sweetened beverages, highly salted snacks, sugary and high-fat goods, and candy…We know from research what any parent understands from common sense—that junk food obtained from vending machines, snack bars, school stores, or à la carte lines is far less nutritious and far less nutritionally balanced than meals that meet USDA standards… Clearly, these sales undermine the $11.5 billion investment that taxpayers will make this year in nutritious school lunches and breakfasts, but even worse, they are damaging the health and lives of our nation’s kids.